How do habits become automatic actions? You know, those automatic actions that you sometimes do without conscious thought.
Everyone needs to know this. Because, if you’re wanting to change a habit or create a brand new one, then this information is key.
Without this little snippet of info, you may not be as successful as you pan in your habit pursuit.
We’ve all wanted to stop doing something, like:
- eating something sweet after dinner
- buying a chocolate bar when you pay for fuel
- eating ice-cream after dinner
- pouring a glass of wine at 6pm.
You decide you just won’t do it again! And then, when the time rolls around again, you do it anyway. Seemingly, driven by something out of your control.
How did that habit become so ingrained that it was an automatic action despite your steely resolve?
It’s like a broken record
Just like an old fashioned vinyl record with a scratch (remember how annoying that was?), habits get stuck on repeat. And, the more you repeat it, the harder it is to give it up or change it.
A really important discovery was made in 1949 by a Canadian neuropsychologist named Donald Hebb.
“Neurons that fire together, wire together”
He discovered that when our brain cells communicate with each other (when you have a thought) they form a neural pathway. The same thought travels the same pathway over and over again, and will begin to transmit faster and faster. After enough repetition, that neural pathway becomes like a deep scratch, ingrained and automatic.
It’s no longer what you think of as “conscious though”. It occurs without you thinking about it.
It’s why you will practice something you want to learn like playing an instrument, hitting a ball, driving a car. It feels awkward at first, then becomes easy, feeling like a muscle memory. Because, with enough practice and repetition the neural pathway gets deeper and becomes automatic.
Our habits have a physical existence in the structure of the brain.
And, that’s why you so easily fall back to your automatic habit despite your best intention. That well worn groove is huge!
Read more about why your brain forms habits here.
You need to build a new neural pathway to override the old one to change a habit.
And, that takes time, repetition and persistence. Doing something once or twice simply won’t work.
So, practice, practice, practice. Each time laying down a new and deeper neural pathway.
Bite Sized Action
Really lean in and feel how different your life will be with a better habit.
With your consistently good habits in mind,
I can help you create consistent habits. Here’s how:
- Book in for a consultation (in Clinic, Zoom or over the phone) to get personalised coaching on changing any habit – Click here
- Creating habits around eating the right foods for your body is a great place to start – Click here
- Grab a copy of my Rebuild Your Life Journal for 5 simple daily journal prompts to ground you and get those habits and routines consistently set – it’s your daily reset button – Click here
- Not sure what you need? Book in for a 20 minute FREE discovery call chat with me – Click here
- Sign up for my Newsletter for more consistent habit tips – Click here