DAY 2: Still Human. Still Learning

Habits cannot be tossed out a window. They must be coaxed down the stairs one step at a time.
— Mark Twain

Day 2 Self Reflection:

On Day 2 in your workbook fill out the “daily flow chart” that helps you to identify habits you want to do more of and habits you want to do less of.

Day 2 Micro-Science: Neural Pruning

The teenage brain at age 13 starts out with 120 billion neurons but by age 19 those neurons have dwindled to only 100 billion. This is due to a process called neural pruning where the brain gets rid of neurons (brain cells) that it deems unnecessary. The brain wants to be as efficient as possible, so it prunes down cells that don’t get used very often to save energy. The brain only takes up 3% of a persons body weight but sucks up 20% of the bodies oxygen and glucose. This disproportionate relationship means the brain needs to be as efficient as possible. Therefore, your brain gives you a chance to learn new “skills” up until age 19 and then cements those learned “skills” into place in order to make less work later on. So to put it plainly, your brain starts out as billions of tiny dirt roads but as you age the roads you use the most get paved into place and those will the the roads you will most likely travel later in life. This evolutionary “advantage” is one reason why 85% of all adults who become addicts/alcoholics starting using between the ages of 13-19.

  • FACT: Teenagers lose an average of 30,000 synapses(on/off switches) in their brains per day

  • TAKEAWAY: The habits you formed as a teenager come to define who you are later in life. After age 19 it becomes significantly harder to change your brain’s subroutines.

Day 2 Meditation: Sitting in Silence

Today is the day to break the habit of always “doing.” Moving from one thing to the next without stopping. So often we hear the alarm go off in the morning, move straight into checking our emails, next we’re turning on the radio, and before we know it we are off to work. Continuing down this road until it is time to pass out at the end of the night. It’s flipping exhausting! Most of us going everyday from point A to point B, right on down the line. Forgetting that we are human “beings” not human “doings.” So today’s task is to get more in touch with the “being” side of things and just sit in silence, not allowing our minds to tell us what to do every second of every day.

  • FACT: Subjects in a research experiment where left alone in a room with only an electrified button that would shock them, which they had touched previously and knew it really hurt. Within 15 minutes of being alone with only their thoughts, 67% of all men and 24% of all women had touched the button and knowingly shocked themselves.

  • TAKEAWAY: People would rather be in pain then left alone with their own thoughts. In our culture, we have become addicted to comfort and any time without our smartphones, daily pleasures, and quick distractions are downright painful for us

Day 2 Meditation: Do absolutely nothing for five minutes (set a timer): try not to think, no movement, no TV, no music. Just you and silence. Start to becomes friends with your own mind.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is then not a act, but a habit
— Will Durant

Day 2 Movement Task: Change is possible

So often we believe its too late to change a behavior However, the brain is always changing every second of every day, its basically always on standby waiting your command. It resists change, but once you continually go down a road the brain will eventually hop on as well. Sometimes, the initial push to change a behavior is the hardest. So for today we’re going to prove to the brain that change is possible and we’re gonna start with the little things.

  • FACT: Domestic violence offenders were told to open all doors for the next month with their non-dominant hand to practice their impulse control. A month later their domestic violence rates had dropped by 40%.

  • TAKEAWAY: Practice a skill in one area and get results of that same skill in another area.

Day 2 Movement Task: The task for today is to eat just one meal with your non-dominant hand. It will be frustrating and a little slow. I would even recommend putting the fork down between each bite. To ease your annoyance, think of all the great new synapses you are forming in your brain that will help you slow down and enjoy what your doing, instead of rushing through your life.

Day 2 Bonus Material:

#1) Ted Talk: A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit

Check out this Ted Talk by Justin Brewer that looks at ways he has broken a ton of his bad habits over the years. His simple methods will put you on track to tackling your own bad habits into submission.

#2) Time Magazine: “How to break bad habits, according to Science”

It is not easy to break a habit, but it is possible. This article in time magazine shows you the ins and out of what it takes to make it happen It says the word “science” in the title, so it can’t be wrong. Anyways, you have tried everything else so whats the harm in trying these!