Have you ever tried to write with your other hand… just for fun?
It’s not easy is it!
Your brain has to learn to do something it has never done before. It has to reprogram itself to make the necessary synapse connections within the brain to coordinate the activities between the hand and arm muscles, your eyes and your mind to make it all work. As a result when we first try to write with the opposite hand we stumble and fumble and make lots of mistakes. And we also quickly get frustrated. I don’t know about you, but my writing comes out as a sloppy, incomprehensible mess.
For our brain, the entire process is not natural, it wants to revert to what it knows best which is to write with our normal writing hand because it’s easy and comfortable and we can do it almost effortlessly. When we write with our normal hand the mechanics of writing are so familiar we hardly have to think about it.
But… if we continue to try to write with the opposite hand our brain has to work extra hard and after a while it can actually become exhausting. Before long, what started out as something to try ‘just for fun’ isn’t fun at all!
Learning to write with the other hand is quite challenging, but it can be done. People who lose a limb and forced to learn to write with the other hand are able to pick it up after a while.
But that’s the thing.
To learn a new habit takes time. It takes time to reprogram our brain to learn to do things the new way.
How much time does it take?
Well it depends on the habit you are trying to learn. Some habits can be learned in a few days of repeated activity while others can take months to become cemented into our brain.
It’s the same with learning the habits that put us on the path to any other successful endeavor. Our brain wants us to continue to keep doing things the old way, the way that led us to where we are right now. Changing our habits from those that got us to where we are now to those that will steer us towards success take time and persistence.
It doesn’t happen overnight.
It takes time to train ourselves to implement the new habits of success and if we don’t commit ourselves to taking the necessary time, we usually revert back to our old habits. That’s why many New Year’s resolutions fail; people don’t stick with the resolution long enough to form the new habit (i.e., quit smoking, eat differently, get fit, etc.).
How do we train ourselves?
We do the things that put us on the path to success. We do them until they become our new habits. But first and foremost it’s essential to decide what it is you want to achieve and be very specific. Then you need to make a plan; not just a vague plan roughly sketched out in your mind, but a plan that is written down in clear concise terms.
Sounds daunting, but it’s not.
Start by listing the steps to get you from where you are now to where you want to go. Next, break the steps down into bite size chunks you can easily accomplish. Then get into the habit of implementing your plan. Get into the habit of completing the tasks.
What are the habits that will help you achieve your goal?
Make progress on your plan every day.
If lack of time is an issue, get up early each morning and work on your plan.
Keep a journal of what you are doing and what needs to be done.
Refer to your journal often; it will keep you focused. Add things as they spring to mind. Write everything down.
Post your plan and list of tasks somewhere where you can see it every day. Every time you complete a task, out a checkmark beside it and watch as the list of checkmarks grows longer and longer.
If you need it, seek advice from people who can help you.
If something needs to be done, do it now; don’t put it off.
Make adjustments to your plan as you need.
If you falter in your plan, get back on track and keep going.
Do not get discouraged if you have setbacks; learn from them and move on.
Say positive, reinforcing things to yourself like “I can do this”.
Encourage yourself often.
If you find your mind feeding you negative chatter, stop yourself, take a couple of deep breaths and replace the thoughts with positive images of the dream or goal you are working towards.
I would also suggest you make a habit of properly recharging your batteries every day; get a good night of sleep every night so you can keep your energy levels high. Working on your plan can become all-encompassing if you let it, but it need not be. Make time for your family and friends because they will provide you with energy and vitality. And lastly, don’t waste time doing unproductive things.
I wish you success in your endeavors!
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Copyright 2014 MD Tinney – Author of “Re-Energize Your Life”