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3 Ways to Change Unhealthy Habits

February 26, 2013| By

I was reading an interesting article by Daniel Goleman, “Developing Emotional Intelligence”, He talks about the fact that, contrary to popular thinking, our brain actually creates new cells as we get older. But the trigger for that growth is the need to learn something new.

In terms of weight-loss, you know you have to make some changes from what you’re doing now because what you’re doing now helped you gain weight. You need to look at making those changes not in the context of overcoming the bad habits but creating new healthy habits. Goleman contends that when you’re trying to overcome a bad habit, you come up against a lot of neurons in your brain that have established pathways, which actually serve as roadblocks.

First, set yourself a weight-loss goal, making sure it’s a realistic goal. If you have 50 pounds to lose, then set the goal for 10 pounds to start with.

Second, don’t try to change everything at one time. Pick one new behavior, say, putting your fork down between each bite, and work on that behavior until you’ve got that down to where you don’t have to think before doing it. In doing new habits, you build up new circuitry in the brain. It’s like creating the detour around those roadblocks.

Third, when you’ve come up with a new healthy habit to replace an unhealthy one, take note of the moment when you’re about to commit that unhealthy habit. Replace it with the healthier habit. This is neuroplasticity at its best. It’s the opportunity for the brain to reshape itself according to the experiences you’re having. However, you must do this healthy habit over and over again to create the new circuitry. The habit then becomes the default option.

Got any healthy habit suggestions you’d like to share?

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