One Day at a Time
Neuroplasticity - developing new habits
For the most part, our habitual ways of thinking and doing become set by age 25. These are the
rivers or neurons that have formed in your brain, and the “neural pathways” you have developed to
steer you through life almost without thinking. If you are interested, the more scientific terms is the
field of neuroplasticity.
But these pathways, which when they were first formed would have been useful, may in time take
us in different and unhealthy directions.
When I was about 10, I was involved in a major tractor accident which so damaged my right leg, I
could not walk. For six months I had to rest. Resting became the new habit and it was one I enjoyed.
I learned too to become lazy and depend on others. I enjoyed the attention my inability to walk
brought to me; people were very sympathetic and I grew to like it.
But had I continued to rest, to sit around and do little, I would have become a couch potato with
all the health consequences of leading a sedentary life.
So, to begin walking again, I had to learn to motivate myself, by first changing my attitudes, my thoughts, then day by day becoming involved in exercise and movement challenges, each day adding a new one. I was developing new pathways … to walk, to connect, to get attention, to look after myself etc.
So I had to find new ways, develop new neural pathways, healthier ways to live.
If you try one new action to develop a new pathway, a new habit, and you push yourself once and then never again, your progress will be lost and success will elude you.
Forming new neural pathways is a delicate process, one that needs repetition to reinforce them. Only with practice can they become your new default ways of thinking, your new pathways. And it can be done, even after the age of 25 … right up into elder years. And in matters health, it takes planning and commitment.
Creating Your Personal Health Plan
Take one action a day toward better health.
Do this for 30 days (or your own chosen time period) and by the end of the time period you will have integrated new habits into your life.
Success is more likely if you take a couple of hours to plan – to decide your actions, and when is the best time to start.
Guidelines for creating a health plan
Separate your health plan into sections. The following may help when you are considering which areas of life need beterment.
Lifestyle (habits, recreation)
Movement and Exercise
Western/Conventional Medicine Approaches
Other Healing Modalities (eg acupuncture, biofeedback, bodywork, energy medicine, herbalism, hypnosis, etc. be of use to you?)
If you want a more detailed approach – go here this will take you away from The Radical Healer website.
Here, the Radical Healer Website is offering a simple, one day at a time plan.
You may also wish to consider wholeness healing, or Now Healing.
Block out a couple of hours in your diary – preferably at a time when you can be relaxed and more in your creative mind. You will use that block of time to create your vision of living with better health and well-being. Then draw up your personal plan.
For these two or so hours you may want to have gentle music playing, and perhaps a diffuser with creative aromas.
Your personal plan will happen in the following order ...
A summary of your vision
A list of things you need to stop or modify in order to reach that vision
A list of things you need to add in to your life in order to reach your vision.
A summary of daily actions of things you must integrate into daily living, drawn from your lists above.
A date to get started
Create your vision
Visualise what better health would mean for you, what it would look like, what results you are looking for; hold that image in your mind throughout this exercise. Allow it to change if better ideas emerge. Summarise it on the top of a piece of paper, or a page document on your laptop.
My vision for better health and well-being
To have better energy, having got my weight reduced to xxx stone.
To become more grateful and compassionate.
To be calmer and less irritable. To lead a more spiritually healthy life.
Now draw a line down the middle of the remainder of your page.
Head each column
Left Things to Stop Doing Right Things to Do
Just get writing, don’t stop to edit, or clarify, or put things in any order. Your lists may look something like this …
Stop eating processed food Eat only fresh produce, cook from fresh
Give up alcohol which contributes to weight gain Rehydrate by drinking a litre and a half water per day
Stop watching rubbish TV Read inspirational books
Stop being so sedentary Take up swimming and walking
Stand every hour for five minutes
Study and practise the art of gratitude
Watch YouTube videos that inspire me etc etc
Order your plan
You are now going to fashion your plan, by working out, from your list of things you know you must now do, the one thing you can do on day one, the one thing you can add to that on day two, then on day three and so on.
A possible list of things to do – starting with the simpler habits
Eat one piece of fruit per day – this is the action for day 1 and each subsequent day - you are integrating new habits
Read a chapter of a relevant self-help book, one that will motivate and inspire you on your present journey, one that has simple easy to absorb chapters – so start today, then read a chapter a day. It could also be from your religious text book or the A Course in Miracles daily exercises or on one of your daily actions eg watch meditation videos, read up on gratitude etc
Walk for fifteen minutes or thirty – start today, and build this habit in for the remainder of the 30 days – it could be going out specifically to walk in the woods, or it could be walking to work some more
Focus on rehydration – keep a litre bottle of water with you and sip from it all day, and all remaining days
Swim – experiment, can you begin today and swim for 20 – 40 minutes a day, and then build that in to your daily routine for the remaining days
Meditate – decide to get up half an hour earlier, find a place just for you and meditate – yes, you’ll need to figure out in advance what kind of meditation you will do then stick to it and build it in for the remainder of the thirty days. I took up meditation when I was working long hours in my own hotel, already rising at 5.30am. So I got up at 4.45 for a 30 minute meditation, then shower – and ended up with more energy, clarity of mind, and better work outcomes
Breathe – we seldom focus consciously on breathing and yet it is fundamental to life. Many of us breathe too shallowly. Use one of two methods at least twice a day – breathing to the count of in 4- hold 7- out 8 or alternative nostril breathing
Intend – use your thoughts wisely. Take five minutes out once or twice a day. Send your intentions out for what you desire for others in the world. The universe will reward you.
Stand … many have become too sedentary. Every hour, ensure you stand up, walk around, go make a drink, just move for five minutes.
Gratitude … start the practice of gratitude. Keep a gratitude diary and once a day, reflect on that day and all that you had in that day to be grateful for.
Food … check what you are eating. Is it healthy? Start today to shop wisely, and make only fresh food, predominantly plant based … cut right back on sugars and avoid processed and fast food takeaways.
Fresh vegetables … do you get enough fresh vegetables in a day – 1- 8 portions? Now is the time to ensure you get your fair share of fresh vegetables every day from now on - preferably steamed or raw
Mindfulness – ok so you are already meditating, Why not build in 5 – 10 minutes of mindfulness. Swap an unhealthy snack break for a mindfulness moment.
Qi-gong – another swap. If you are a Tv aficionado then take ten minutes from your viewing time to practise some Gi Gone. Find simple routines. Here is a seven minute one.
Create – in our busy word, we forget to take time for Self, to flex our creative muscles. Can you find something you enjoy creating and spend at least 30 minutes a day on it….art, making music, baking, gardening, calligraphy etc
Your plan, using only buzz-reminder words
Day One Apple
Day two Apple Read Chapter
Day three Apple Read Chapter Walk
Day four Apple Read Chapter Walk Drink Water
Day five Apple Read Chapter Walk Drink Water Swim
Day six Apple Read Chapter Walk Drink Water Swim Meditate
Day seven Apple Read Chapter Walk Drink Water Swim Meditate Breathe
Day eight Apple Read Chapter Walk Drink Water Swim Meditate Breathe Intend
Day nine Apple Read Chapter Walk Drink Water Swim Meditate Breathe Intend Stand
Day ten Apple Read Chapter Walk Drink Water Swim Meditate Breathe Intend Stand Gratitude
Day eleven Apple Read Chapter Walk Drink Water Swim Meditate Breathe Intend Stand Gratitude Food
Day twelve Apple Read Chapter Walk Drink Water Swim Meditate Breathe Intend Stand Gratitude Food Fresh Vegetables
Day thirteen Apple Read Chapter Walk Drink Water Swim Meditate Breathe Intend Stand Gratitude Food Fresh Vegetables Mindfulness
Day fourteen Apple Read Chapter Walk Drink Water Swim Meditate Breathe Intend Stand Gratitude Food Fresh Vegetables Mindfulness Qi Gong
Day fifteen Apple Read Chapter Walk Drink Water Swim Meditate Breathe Intend Stand Gratitude Food Fresh Vegetables Mindfulness Qi Gong Create
Guidelines for actioning the plan
Do not judge the action or the outcome of the action – just do the steps.
If one day you miss one action, do not berate yourself. Each day you build up plenty of other actions to do, So keep going and do the missed habit the next day. If you keep missing the same action, consider (a) maybe this is not the right action at this time or (b) explore your resistance to this habit! It may be trying to teach you something.
After 30 days - Celebrate. Plan ahead. You then have something to motivate you and to look forward to. Do not underestimate the value of celebration. It anchors in the feeling of success and reinforces your new neural pathways.
Continue with as much of the programme as possible, continuing with as many of the new actions as you can manage each day
Remember your aim – always moving forward to better health… which will include all or a mix of the following – Better Health Wealth Relationships Abundance Gratitude Love Joy Spirituality
The downside of plans is that some of us are too lazy to be bothered and because plans can seem overwhelming they become an excuse not to follow the plan. Hence why this plan is kept as simple as possible.
Another option is to focus on whole healing, holistic healing, where instead of focussing on all the different bits of you that want healing or all the different ways to do so, you simply focus on wholeness, focus on you as healed – now. If interested, explore Now Healing.
On the right, list out what you will replace them with, what new thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, actions you need to add in
These must be in alignment with your vision and help you meet it.
On the left, list out all the things you need to stop, let go of.
These are the things which, if you kept on doing, would not lead you to better health.
To stop To Start Doing