More detail on (re-)starting a beneficial practice or habit…

Yesterday’s email described the power of sequenced and contextualized imagination versus simple intention when starting a new habit or re-starting an old one. Here’s a more specific example.

When I say, “I intend to pull the rake out of the garage today,” such a statement has virtually no impact on my body, my desire, or my future actions.

But when I imagine the act of fetching the rake, book-ended by two existing daily habits, the intended action takes on a greater level of reality to my body, my emotions, and my brain. I am creating a “memory of the future”.

If for example, I fully imagine fetching the rake today, after getting home, but before fetching the mail, suddenly, the act has a new level of reality beyond me just saying. “I want to fetch the rake”.

Imagining the sights, smells, textures, sounds and spatial awareness of my body moving from getting home to getting the rake, to getting the mail, fires real neurons and twitches real muscle fibers.

The whole trajectory of the event is now real to my senses, my nervous system, my muscles, my mind, my emotions.

The first step to making that new habit or practice real, is me imagining the bookends around it… remembering the existing context of space and time into which I am inserting that new action.

To make this yours, consider a simple new action you wish to do daily.

Imagine from memory the pre-existing daily activity that will directly precede your new action, then flow your imaginative experience into your new action, and then into the pre-existing memory of the daily activity that now follows your new action.

You have now re-written a layer of your neurological reality.

Repeat the process, and layer after layer of your daily “memory of the future” gets re-written – by you! – until only your chosen new reality exists.

The new habit, the new practice, now flows from the activity before, into the activity after….

Repeat it a few times, in “fast-forwarded” imagination if you like, but still feeling and perceiving everything as if real.

With each email or other reminder that you receive, repeat this quick imaginative exercise, contextualizing a new chosen action between two existing habits…

Next up, a method for integrating longer sequences of new actions.
Keep going — keep playing.

  • April 17, 2019