The science of conscious commitment.
Did you know that reflecting on our routines can help us rewire the way we think? And, that by consciously committing to something we want from our lives and the very real reward we experience when we do it, we can change deep seated behaviours that unbalance us, for good?
Scientists call it ‘self directed neuroplasticity’ - and, put simply, it is the practice of intentionally rewiring our brain by reflecting on how behaviours or habits make us feel.
And it makes sense. Habits can feel unprompted, spontaneous even - but they are often triggered by cues - and, critically, result in an associated outcome and dopamine hit. in 1999, psychologists from MIT broke habitual behaviour into a 3 stage ‘cycle’ of ‘cue-routine-reward’,
Society perpetuates the myth that shifting behaviours and habits become more difficult as we age.
How often have we heard the whisper, ‘they’re just set in their ways’?
How many times have we looked at a loved one and thought ‘ they’re too old to change’? You can't teach an old dog new tricks…right?
But, the beauty of our biology means our bodies are brilliantly adaptable. Our brains remain malleable throughout our lives. If we want to change our habits, we can. And we can increase our likelihood of success by consciously committing.
So, if you’re looking to change something that no longer serves you, or if you want to introduce a new practice that you know will nourish you in Part 2, here are a 3 key tips to get you started:
1. CONNECT NEW HABITS TO IMMEDIATE REWARDS; for example, only listen to the next episode of that favourite audiobook when you run.
2. MAKE SURE YOU'RE CLEAR ON THE 'WHY'; conscious commitment requires you to have a clear perspective on the benefit of change. Take time to make it tangible.
3. REFLECT EXPLICITLY ON HOW HABITS MAKE YOU FEEL; what does the new good habit result in? And how does that bad habit you want to remove make you feel once the dopamine hit passes? Write it down. Return to it when you need to.
We see, first hand, the potential midlife offers through the stories you share with us every day. With the right support around us, midlife can be a platform for good change. We’re not done yet! Through education and exploration, we can reshape our everyday to nurture and nourish us. And it begins when we allow ourselves to turn inwards, to tune in.
Rebekah and the MPowder Team