EP 003 : The Principles of Neuroplasticity

On today’s episode of The Becoming You Podcast we Discuss How to Improve Habit Formation and Increase Goal Achievement

 The Becoming You Podcast is the millennial space for connecting and becoming your best self through personal development and success practices. In this space we empower and connect to our inner light, purpose, and the endless possibilities that we unlock through healing, growth, and self-love .Through self-mastery and practical methods we will connect to our inner power, get out of our own way, and develop the most important relationship there is, the relationship with yourself. 

Today’s episode of The Becoming You podcasts revisits one of the most popular Instagram LIVE sessions of 2019, in which we take a look at a popular but rarely explained topic ; NEUROPLASTICITY, the process which enables and makes learning and change possible. As we continue to peel back the layers on what it takes to achieve the goals you have set out to accomplish – it becomes increasingly important to know that the power and ability to change and evolve is hard wired within us. Even in the moments it feels like it is impossible to create new habits, learn new things, and BECOME your best self – the truth is; with the aid of neuroplasticity and the 9 components that enhance it – you can make daily strides towards your goals that are backed by science to not only effect your behaviors long term but actually improve and change the function of your brain at a neural level.

With a clearer understanding of how our brains create new habits and learns skills, we can better create processes in our own lives that enhances our learning and decreases difficulty in a new habit sticking. with these tools we can not only improve our ability to change our mindset, behaviors, and beliefs — but we also improve self confidence during the process when you feel overwhelmed, stuck, or as if you are not making progress.

What is Neuroplasticity?

Neuroplasticity is the term used to describe the brains ability to learn and adapt over the span of our lives. This process refers to how learning and change can take place when specific behaviors or actions take place. It is this ability that makes it possible for children to learn how to speak for the first time or helps adults learn a new language. Not only does this process apply to learning new things but also help us to expand our mindset, learn to love ourselves properly, and untwist limiting beliefs that we may have learned in our childhood or though traumas.

In order to create habits and a mindset that mirrors the life you are hoping to create for yourself, it will require the development of new habits and behaviors – a process that would be impossible without neuroplasticity.

How Does this Apply to Our Habits?

As we create our goals and figure out what is necessary for us to achieve our goals it becomes clear that the every day actions we make have a profound impact on our success and accomplishment. In order to develop the skills and follow through with action it will require a development of new habits, one’s that support our end goal and set us up for success.

Creating a new habit can seem intimidating until we realize that we are wired and built to learn in this way. Our brains are built in with ability to adapt and change over our lives. This amazing ability exists within all of us, but tapping into it can feel overwhelming at times . This is because when we are learning a new habit or seeking to create chnage in our mindset, actions, and beliefs it requires a dual process of both unlearning and detatching from old habits while also learning and sticking to a new habit.

Both seem difficult, yet both are skills we are born with – and with the aid of a few tools and tricks we can speed up and improve the process of creating habits that support goal achievement, balance, and happiness.

What are the Principles of Neuroplasticity?

1- REPITION

Repetition is a major agent of change and learning. If there is a habit you are seeking to apply to yuor life or one that you are looking to unwire and overcome – the best tool at your disposal is to repeat the process or actions that supports your goals. The more you repeat a process the stronger neural connections are. These connections are basically what helps us form memories, helps our habits stick, and helps turn our daily actions into habits of second nature.

What is the process or series of actions I want to insert into myself as a habit? How often do I repeat this process? Can increase how often I carry out these behaviors in order to better solidify its potential to go from a hard series of tasks to a hardwired habit?

2-RELEVANCE

In order for a habit to stick, it must be salient – meaningful – relevant. What this means is your goal should be directly connected to a WHY or motivating factor that impacts your life. For example, setting a goal to be more positive in your internal dialogue with yourself is an amazing goal to set. The habits and actions of self regulation, affirmation, and practice will all be key components to detaching from your past behaviors of negative self talk and rewiring your behaviors — however– if there is nothing within you , that truly wants and needs an internal shift to achieve the peace, happiness, and confidence you deserve, it will be 100 x more difficult to create the discipline, tenacity, and consistency needed to change your habit .

Anchor your goal to evolve and change with a “WHY” if you want to increase and amplify the power of neuroplasticity in your process. This is what helps the act of achievement feel rewarding. The habits you are attempting to implement into your life must lead to changes in behavior, experience, or feeling or the brain will not learn it or retain it. The best way to create this relevance is to become very clear on your “why behind your try”, the motivating reason for your hard work and self evolution.

3-REWARD/INCENTIVE

Our brains, like many mammals, are highly receptive to reward training. Meaning, if we incentivize specific behavior with a reward we are more likely to connect that action with positive emotion. We see this in its most simple form when training a pet.

Provide your pet a treat as incentive – teach them a trick – reward them when it is completed correctly. After a while , your pet will perform the trick out of habit– the habit of their training propelled by the incentive of a treat.

The same methods apply to the human brain, but we have to be more intentional and disciplined about our reward system so that we do not cheat or use reward as a way to self sabotage other goals.It can be easy to not hold ourselves accountable so when you set a goal — motivate yourself to try and hit it. If there is something you want to achieve, put a reward in your mind that you can give yourself once you accomplish your goal. Make your reward equal to the task at hand so it truly motivates your action.

4- PERSONALIZED GOALS

Setting goals for others and what they desire you to do will always be the hardest journey. Our goals need to be personal and connected to the things we really want and desire. This is because NO ONE ELSE CAN DO THE EMOTIONAL WORK NEEDED TO HELP YOU BE HAPPY!

YOU are the ONLY person who can do the work, so you should be the person writing your story – deciding who you want to be. Not others. Connect to what you truly want and the skills you need to get it will follow when you align your wants and your actions.

5- SPECIFIC TRAINING

All the actions and behaviors you take leading up to the moment that an action becomes an instilled habit, is training. Every hardship, test, and opportunity to lean in and stay consistent in the behaviors of your new habit , is actually preparing and training you to become the person you want to be. This si why it is so important to not allow yourself to be a passive bystander in this process .

When you have a goal, you need a plan and a process. Your plan helps you figure out what steps are needed to accomplish your goal but your process gets granular about the habits and actions you will need to take on a consistent basis to work that plan. More on this on Episode 001 of the podcast. (You can click here to check it out if you missed it. ) Within your process you will be able to find the spaces you can train yourself in the specific areas you are looking to grow and change.

For example, if you are going to the gym and want to lift that BOOTY, doing training that is for your arms ( although a great exercise) is not SPECIFIC to YOUR GOAL. This is true for mindset training, physical training, or even learning new skills.

Training should be specific to the traits or skills you are looking to develop.

6-AGE

Neuroplasticity is an agent of change, that we ALL have access to not matter what your age –however, the younger you are , the easier it will be to engage your neuroplasticity. Children age 0-8 will experience their highest levels of neuroplasticity during this time. This is because their brains are developing, learning, and changing for the first time. The brain is more flexible to change and learning at this stage.

But that does not mean after 8 we cannot learn or change. In fact, while this fact seems discouraging it is actually a really great and powerful reminder that RIGHT NOW is the best time to start. It will always be easier to start change and self growth today than it will be tomorrow. It is never too late to learn something new, rewire and dismantle limiting beliefs, and choose to change our behaviors.

7-INTERFERENCE

As mentioned before, the process of creating a new habit is actually a dual process. One part which is learning a new habit or skill or implementing new behaviors into your life. The other, unlearning old habits and mindsets that you now realize are not healthy or supporting the person you seek to become. These two processes can seem to clash against each other but the truth is , the more your lean into the process and habits of your new behaviors, the development of these skills will interfere or begin tot dismantle the strength of your old habits.

However , this is true , and sometimes even more powerful on the other side. Meaning, if you are consistent in a goal but then allow yourself to slip back into an old habit, this take away from the formation of the new goal. It becomes that much harder to stick to your goal when you are intertwining your bad/old habits with the new. Make a mental commitment to stay consistent and not go back to old habits- every step towards forming those habits it a step in the direction of the person you are becoming.

8 – INTENSITY

Earlier, we covered how repetition aids neuroplasticity and increases habit formation. While this is true, training yourself on the same level over and over will eventually lead to a plateau of growth.

For example, you decide to begin lifting weights to support your physical and health goals for the new year. After lifting 15 pound weights during your daily workouts you realize that the weights are no longer challenging to you. In order to increase your ability to lift, you must increase the heaviness of the weights. Repetition alone , will not get you to the level you need to be. In order to improve and strengthen your habit you must increase the intensity of your practice.

In the gym that may mean an increase in weights, in your personal development practice it may mean going from daily journaling to sitting down with a therapist to gain clarity in your emotional state. Whatever habit you are looking to build will require training that builds in intensity over time to help the habit stick.

Questions for Reflection

Are the habits and the beliefs in your life supporting the person you are working to become?

Do you have a goal set?

Is there a plan to achieve this?

What is your specific process?

What are the habits you need/want to form to support this process?

How will you reward yourself?

The Person You Are Seeking To Become is on The other side of Your Bad Habits and Limiting Belief. Create clarity on the spaces of opportunity in your life to create habits that support success instead of self sabotage with The Audit Collections.

Take Your Goal Setting to The Next Level

Are you ready to create a plan and process that supports the goals you have put in place? Click here to order your copy of The Audits for increased clarity & goal setting in the new year.

This collection of 8 workbooks guides you through the step by step process of reviewing and auditing your behaviors and habits from the previous year to bring clarity to your strengths and areas of opportunities for your future goals. Auditing and reviewing our behaviors of the past in comparison to the goals we have set can help to create greater alignment between our future behaviors and current goals.  When we do not reflect on what did or did not work well for us , we lose the opportunity to tweak our behaviors or make different choices that will have a more positive and intentional impact on our goals. Check out the Audit Collection or choose the topics that resonate most with your goals.

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