My neighbour’s bach (holiday home) sits on the sand dunes a short distance from the beach. The walking track from the bach to the beach sort of dog-legs through the sand dunes. It doubles back, and makes the walk longer than it could be. But while the path is longer, it is considerably easier and faster than trying to force a new path where one doesn’t exist.
Which is how our brains function.
Over the years we form habits, good and bad, that create neuro-pathways in our minds. These paths make it faster and easier to do things and they eventually become habitual. They become automatic. And the more you use the path, the faster and easier it becomes.
Which is why it is so hard to break old habits. Because the path already exists and has become the default pathway. New habits, like trying to make a new track to the beach, means creating a new path which takes an incredible amount of hard work.
But, you can create new paths. You just need to walk the new track over and over again.
That’s great news!
Our brains are plastic.
Our behaviours are changeable.
Recently I was making my morning cup of tea and without thinking I added sugar. I haven’t had sugar in my tea for years, but while my mind was somewhere else, my brain chose the old neuro-pathway.
My brain spotted the mistake before I added water, and it reminded me how established the old paths are.
When we are trying to break old, lifelong behaviours, often they will pop up when we least expect it.
It takes a long time for the old path to become overgrown.
Just keep walking the new path.