Module 19: The Complexities of Motivation & Habit
Studies show that an astonishing 80% of our attempted habit changes fail long term. But because healing the modern brain will likely require you to make long term changes to your lifestyle it’s imperative that we learn how to make changes stick.
Motivation in the brain runs on a currency of dopamine, a neurotransmitter central to motivation and plays a critical role in solidifying new habits.
Depression and anxiety can create specific challenges to this process, for example depression is a low dopamine state and therefore motivation can be hard to come by. And symptoms of anxiety can greatly disrupt one’s ability to implement and assess changes.
Ready to make some new habits? The habit loop consists of three parts: cue, routine, and reward. To build new, healthy habits we need to consistently connect these three parts in a way that they reinforce each other.
I often meet patients who are struggling and lack the motivation to even get started – so I’ve seen repeatedly – the best thing to do is to start small. Smaller, more incremental changes are able to settle in faster than trying to overhaul your entire life all at once.
Remember….new habits don’t happen overnight! But if you start today, over time, you can, and will, make meaningful changes and feel better.
I designed this course to be filled with actionable, small steps to help you optimize your mental fitness. Of course, this depends on creating and reinforcing brain healing habits. Sometimes, especially if we are struggling with our mental health, it can seem overwhelming and that’s why the resource section for this module contains some of my favorite small habits from the course to help get you started.