New year, New me. That’s the mantra of many at the start of another year. We all fall victim to the infamous new year resolution. But ever wondered why most of us have troubles maintaining the momentum we have at the start of the year?
Let’s talk about how your brain learns and how change of habits happen in your brain.
Ever heard of the old saying it takes 30days to change a habit? Well the science shows its more like 66 days! This study showed on average it takes 66 days before a new behavior becomes learnt. Like with life, we’re all different and the study showed that it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days to make discernible change.
So why does it take so long? Well it comes down to how the neural pathways in the brain form. When we start an action, our brain starts creating a map of nerves it activates in the brain for us to execute that action again. When we do it for the first time the map is quite rough. But with more repetition, it becomes more refined, detailed and sophisticated. It’s much like if someone asked you to cook a complex dinner and rattled off all the steps at you at once. You’d likely find it was an too much information and need to listen to it again, breaking down each step and absorbing the information.
In that process your brain is starting to refine the connections between centres in the brain from cognition, reasoning, emotional, sensory and motor centres to name just a few. Once you’ve repeated the action it becomes second nature and you can now do it without thinking about it. Much like driving a car half asleep…
At which point does it become learnt behaviour? Well it becomes learnt behaviour when the pattern is imprinted into cerebellum. The cerebellum is called the great comparator. It helps us learn from our mistakes and helps refine our actions. It’s essentially a learning centre of our brain. Once it learns a pattern, its able to execute the action without our conscious brain paying attention. That’s why some habits happen and we don’t even know why. It just happens.
So what has this got to do with new year resolutions? Well if you want to get fitter, stronger, change your posture or get rid of pain, you have to persist with your resolution until your brain adapts to it. Once we repeat the activity it becomes second nature and we have little trouble keeping our resolution.
And what does this have to do with chiropractic? Well remember chiropractic is not merely about the spine and muscles connected to it. It’s about restoring and maximising the nerve connection from the brain to the body. When we adjust your spine, we actually make changes in your brain including the cerebellum. This helps to restore poor connections to the parts of your body that are not working at its best. This means that muscles which are weak, are stronger. Organs which had troubles regulating themselves improve. Thus helping you create a stronger more functional you that you’re actually likely to keep. Couple that with the lifestyle changes you want to make this year, you’re more likely to hit those health goals you’re after.
Here some tips to make sure this year is the year you make meaningful change;
– Pick a goal and aim for it
– Persist with it for more than 66 days
– Don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake. Repetition is key!
Till next time!