Word of the month “Transformation” – (Part 2)

Part 2: Repeat After Me, And Form a Good Habit!

In our last blog, “Why Transformation is not a scary word” we wrote about how micro habits can drive the big transformation we all want. But how are habits formed? What is the brain mechanism behind it and why is everything linked to neuroplasticity?

Several well-known psychologists have studied the brain-mechanisms behind habit formation. What they have in common is the connection they build between habit formation and the brain’s remarkable ability to adapt and rewire itself (neuroplasticity)!

Charles Duhigg, author of the book “The Power of Habit,” has explained how habits are formed, changed, and sustained by focusing on what he called a habit loop (cue, routine, reward) and the role of neuroplasticity in rewiring the brain to establish new habits. He pointed out that given the brain has the ability to change through deliberate repetition and reinforcement of new behaviors could be formed which then translate into habits.

Ann Graybiel, a neuroscientist, in her work has shown us that neural mechanisms/connections underlying habit learning take place in the basal ganglia region of the brain. Behaviors can be driven first consciously by particular goals and then be transformed into habitual behaviors hardly requiring conscious attention: in essence, how the brain decides which behaviors are successful enough to repeat and eventually make into habits.

B.J. Fogg is a behavior scientist known for his work on persuasive technology and behavior design. He developed the Fogg Behavior Model, which outlines the factors that influence behavior change, including habit formation. Fogg’s model also incorporates the idea of “tiny habits,” which leverage neuroplasticity by starting with small, achievable behaviors. Over time, all these behaviors can lead to the formation of larger habits – once again showing us the role of neuroplasticity in building and sustaining habits.

As we conclude our 2 part blog, on how small and sustainable eco-system of habits can drive sustainable change and eventually lead to the big change you want, here are some tips:

Write down your goal then think about one habit that is keeping in the way and decide that you want to begin to change that habit. For example, if you want to get up an hour earlier every day of the week to study on a challenging academic subject, try getting up half an hour early, every other day. The extra-time you get, 3 days a week, 30 minutes each day, will also start to show small improvements on your grade. This small change won’t overwhelm you. Over time, you can add additional 30 minutes and get up earlier every day to prepare for that very challenging class. Remember however that as, James Clear has told us habits take time to form and this can vary from 2 months to 8 months from person to person! So it is more important to be consistent and regular, sustain a new system of habits, for 2 or 3 weeks, then add more hours or days. Micro-changes, repeated over time, sustained for longer and then add more effort.

With Grit & Gratitude
The Sai Shiko Team




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