When it comes to making changes to our habits and patterns, it's essential to understand the brain is wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
This means that if your brain associates habit change with pleasure and fun, you're much more likely to be successful in creating long-term habit change. What is a shame in many ways is so often it comes to self care we are prone to associate habit-change with piety, purity and abstinence; that fun little trio.
The way we treat self-development is to propose it has very little reward along the journey. We hope the dream of a fixed future of happiness will be enough of a motivation to tide us through, but the problem with this is that is not enough to tide us through the hard times.
When we associate habit change with pleasure and creativity, it creates a positive feedback loop in the brain. The brain releases dopamine, your brain’s little pleasure catnip, which reinforces the behaviour and makes us want to do it again. This is why we often feel good after we've done something that we've been putting off or that we're proud of. Your brain gives you rewards so you will do it again (and because it knows you like catnip).
For example, if you want to start moving your body more, try finding an activity that you enjoy, such as dancing, swimming, or going for walks. This way, you'll be more likely to stick with it because it's associated with things you like than imagining 3 hours on a gruelling treadmill.
If you can’t sleep, rather than yelling at yourself for not clearing your mind correctly, are there a neutral thought that you could meditate on? Like there is support under legs. I have a pillow, it is quiet… could serve as an anchor rather than “everyone in the office is a dickhead and I don't want to go in tomorrow.” For example.
It's also important to remember habit change is not a one-time event. It's a process which requires patience, persistence, and consistency. It's essential to celebrate small wins and be kind and compassionate with yourself during the journey. And that’s why rewarding yourself all along the way is essential to your success.
Finding new ways to explore how you could reframe some patterns in your world could allow you to unleash the creativity needed in order to make the changes sustainable.
Want to know the how?
This is what we do over at www.SelfCareSchool.co.uk