Why Brains Repel New Resolutions

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Ever feel bullied, trapped or deceived by your own brain to ignore noble resolutions or remain stuck in ridiculous ruts? Do you get derailed from innovative ventures, only to be wooed into doing things the same old boring way? Our brain’s internal storehouse stockpiles tangled heaps of haphazard goals, ruts and pesky practices.  When what we crave most is access to a successful system, we often come up with mutant or mangled programs from our basal ganglia junk pile where we downloaded endless distractions and weird habits.

Think of it as my animated namungo character, BAS, who comes with real brain parts. BAS illustrates the brain’s tricks to keep us mulling over plots to revenge an insult when we could be learning to play Pokemon for fun and friendship.

We can thank the basal ganglia when teens claim we do and say bizarre and outdated things. But don’t think of BAS as all bad. It also stores helpful habits like sleep patterns, so we can depend on a good night’s rest. Our basal ganglia stores circadian rhythms, and regular secretion of melatonin, the hormone that relaxes us enough to sleep.  That’s why melatonin rises gradually each day, and increases rapidly after dusk, leaving us lively in the morning and sleepier after sunset.

So what helps us bypass BAS and head toward that mental makeover we need to launch new goals?

Luckily our brains also come with more than copious data that could be useful to improve something we do. We come equipped with a working memory, which actually does the work of applying these facts and enables us to compete in the brain’s tug-o-war tussles between ruts and renewal attempts.

What mental tricks help you to make and prosper from new goals?

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Created by Ellen Weber, Brain Based Tasks for Growth Mindset