With every New Year comes any number of things, but chief among them are the annual New Year’s Resolutions. The New Year hands us a fresh start to set much needed new goals and better ourselves, but these resolutions are getting a bad reputation. You’ll hear about the two-week “New year’s rush” at any gym as people try to get a head start on their goals to shape up. After those two weeks many people lose their interest and the gym population goes back to normal.
What if you could take your resolution and make it into a lifelong good habit? A resolution to create a habit is much more likely to be successful than one that stems out of a temporary social “fad.” To create a well-established habit, we ought to look at the engine that drives everything we do, our brains.
The science behind creating these second-nature habits is due to a process called myelination. They become so “normal” to you that it doesn’t require any extra thought. This is myelination. Myelination is the process of wrapping these specific connections of neurons in a white, fatty substance called Myelin. This wrapping acts as an insulator for these electrical signals so when you need to walk, your body sends these signals to this connection of neurons and you do so instantly. The more you use these connections, the stronger they become due to myelination. Blazing a new trail is always more tedious than following one that has already been established, but myelination helps establish these paths in your brain so when you need to use them they are effortless.
So how do you make this happen? Easy! Repetition! Studies show that if you can do something repeatedly for 30 days, it will become a hardwired connection in your brain. Miss a day? No big deal. Keep after it. So whether your goal is to lose weight, make more money, or improve your dental hygiene, stick it out for 30 days and you’ll notice what you thought was a lofty goal at the beginning of January will become something you do out of habit. 30 days may seem long, but one month of commitment will lead to long-term health and success.
Here at Finney Family Dentistry, we try to make all our good habits lasting ones. And we try to share what we know as best we can. As always, feel free to call us in January if you’re due for a teeth cleaning or need work done. We are indeed all in this together. Happy New Year and happy new habits!