Have you ever been filled with such intense determination to change something that you thought, “OK, this time I really mean it!”? You started out with some success only to be thwarted and end up quitting. It’s the lament of many of us. What is the deal? Why is it so hard to change? The answer: you’re fighting against solid wiring in your brain called neural pathways. We have the life-long ability to lay down new wiring in our brains but if the new wiring is contradictory to existing wiring, the existing wiring has the first right of refusal…and it doesn’t refuse to be first! That’s what you’re up against when you want to change a behavior, action or reaction.
In order to create any kind of change whether it’s a physical movement (think professional athletes) or a behavior, you have to start by laying down new wiring, new neural pathways, by doing the new action or choosing the new behavior. It’s not natural at all because it’s not something you typically do. As you continue to use the new behavior or movement, you get better and better at it but this takes a lot of repetition and a lot of time. The old pathway doesn’t go away so you will feel almost pulled to it time and time again. If you’re not aware of what you are doing, you will go back to the old way. Sometimes even being aware doesn’t stop us! The more you use the new path, the stronger it gets. The goal is to get the new pathway stronger than the old pathway so it takes over on the first right of refusal contract.
Keep this in mind as you seek to change. It’s incredibly hard! It takes a lot of time and intention. If it’s something you really want, you can do it but you will have to work at it every day. We tend to create change more permanently when we enlist the help of others. So, if you are serious about it enlist the help of a coach, counselor or mentor. Being in a group with others who are on this change journey can be incredibly helpful as well. Going it alone is almost always unsuccessful so set yourself up for success by doing all you can to create and strengthen a new neural pathway!