Spring is a great time to start anew. Clean out your closets and give away unused items. All to make way for the “new” of summer.
In terms of health, there’s lots of ways to start anew. But the mind has a way of leading us to the idea of sweeping change. Maybe its signing up for an exercise bootcamp, revamping all the food that comes into your kitchen, or rallying the kids to do something you know they will be resistant to do.
If we really want lasting change we need to start with small improvements that we can do consistently. In The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog psychiatrist Bruce Perry puts it this way:
The systems in your brain that get repeatedly activated will change and the systems in your brain that don’t get active won’t. This “use dependent” development is one of the most important properties of neural tissue. In order to change things new repetitions mush be patterned so they make molecular changes that make the work easy.
The problem with extreme change is it produces fear, which is why there is so much resistance. Just the thought of all the energy and time it will take causes people to put off change for years or even decades. In One Small Step Will Change Your Life Robert Maurer says “Low key change helps the human mind circumnavigate the fear that blocks success and creativity.”
So this week let’s be mindful of the small (and repeated) improvements we can make towards health goals that produce the least amount of resistance. How have big sweeping changes worked out for you in the past?