Step 1 of Building Healthy Brain Habits: Dream Big, Start Small

In Spring, everyone gets an itch to begin Spring Cleaning. It's important to decutter our homes, but it's also critical to transform bad habits to positive ones. Why not apply the age-old, domestic practice to your life in a new way? Cleaning old habits out of your brain is more likely to improve your life than mopping.

Together, neuroscientific research and emotional intelligence can help you to change old habits, be more mindful, train your brain for success, and ultimately transform your life. Think of it like a new adventure ahead of you with healthy brain fitness as your goal. It is achievable!

Little girl painting her dreamStart with the four fundamental steps we will explain over the next two weeks. These simple practices incorporate psychology, mindfulness exercises and brain health tips to help you re-pattern your habits.  

First, before you even begin the journey—you have to know your end goal. You cannot build any trajectory without a destination first.

"Spring-clean" your brain by turning your dreams into achievable steps.

Envision the major outcome you want, even if it is a goal that seems impossible. Backtrack from there, breaking the end goal into 5-year steps, then annual, quarterly, monthly and so on. Pick achievable goals that you can attain regularly, because repeated and direct actions are what build new neural pathways.

Small steps are the key to changing your brain’s habits. But having your big dream in mind will make achieving every little step more attainable: When four psychologists monitored self-control in people with large goals versus little ones, the bigger goals led to greater self-control andDream big but start small success.

“High-level construals [aka big goals] led to decreased preferences for immediate over delayed outcomes, greater physical endurance, stronger intentions to exert self-control, and less positive evaluations of temptations that undermine self-control.” (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 90).

For more information about getting support to achieve your dreams and  about Heartmanity programs, please visit our resources page.

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Enid R. Spitz / Heartmanity ContributorEnid R. Spitz / Heartmanity Contributor
Enid Spitz is a writer and yoga instructor based in Charleston, SC. She previously lived in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA, where she was a newspaper editor and researched yoga for Traumatic Brain Injury. Heartmanity combines Enid's passions for social wellbeing, neuroscience and yoga. When not writing or on the yoga mat, she is an avid traveller, enjoys a good whiskey, and loves being outdoors. Twitter: @enidrosalyn, Instagram: @littleyogibird.

Posted in Brain Fitness, Mindfulness and Perspective, Emotional Intelligence & Fitness

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