Our clients often ask us:
- Given that change is natural to my brain chemistry, why do I set the same goals each year to lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more or choose healthier relationships?
- How is it that I keep repeating the same patterns?
To answer this we first need to look at how your brain circuitry causes your habits. Every moment of every day your brain is recording all subtle and significant experiences. It takes this data and uses it to build what we call your neural architecture of experience. This results in the culmination of who you know yourself to be, why you think and feel the way you do, why you react the way you do and why you choose to do what you do. Your neural architecture is comprised of billions of neurons that connect to form networks or what are known as ‘brain maps’. Your brain maps correspond to all categories of your life experience. This is essentially the biological process of learning (or unlearning) and the resulting development of your habits of thought, emotion and action.
Similar to a road map, your brain maps serve as a reference for the roads you have traveled and guide you along your current life journey. They tell you where you have been, where you are and where you could go if you choose the same path. Similar to driving on auto-pilot to familiar destinations, the more you activate a brain map the stronger it becomes.
Rewire Your Brain
If you want to change your relationship with food, your body or your fitness level you will to need to identify a new road to travel down that is related to how you think, feel, perceive, imagine and act. Therefore, it is not enough to simply embark on the latest nutrition program or fitness routine and expect this to change your brain map! This is one of the pitfalls most people make that leads to a cycle of disappointment and frustration. You have to change your brain structure and function through the same biological means that creates your habits.
Let’s return to the most common question our clients ask, ‘Why do I keep repeating the same patterns over and over?’ Our answers:
- Every time you repeat a pattern you recycle the past, strengthen existing brain maps and make future change more challenging.
- You are only applying one element needed for change – action. You can’t rewire by action alone.
- You have to be willing to identify and rewire your existing brain maps on all levels of change; thoughts, emotions, perceptions, images and actions.
Coaching and Counseling
Hilary Stokes Ph.D. and Kim Ward Ph.D. have been a team for 20 years, specializing in mind, body, spirit psychology. They are the authors of the bestselling books The Happy Map: Your roadmap to the habit of happiness and Manifesting Mindset: The 6-step formula for attracting your goals and dreams and founders of Authenticity Associates Coaching and Counseling. They are passionate about combining the best of holistic and traditional approaches to health and happiness. If you are interested in learning the answers to the most frequently asked questions on how to decrease stress and increase happiness sign up for their free video series.