Neurons are the nervous system’s cells. They are in the brain and all over the nervous system, of course. They send signals to and from the brain. I learned that these neurons have connections that are either strengthening or weakening.
Let me further explain. Any time we experience a significant amount of pain or pleasure our brain searches for the source and stores it in order to continue making decisions accordingly. This is the reason we make many of the same choices every day such as drinking, exercising, partying, watching TV, reading, and eating some particular foods. In other cases we avoid particular behaviors.
Every time we make a choice and repeat it, we subconsciously make a neuro association based on our emotions on a consistent basis. When we make these decisions continuously we strengthen a particular neuro connection. For example, the need to drink coffee every morning can be associated with the feeling of waking up, which can give us some level of pleasure. This behavior strengthens the neuro connection each morning we opt to drink coffee.
The reason it is so difficult to drop old habits and we relapse often into them is because the neuro connections are so strong. Here two events need to happen before we can drop an old habit and develop a new one. We need to make the neuro connection of the old habit weak, and we need to strengthen the neuro connection of the new habit.
Let’s say for example that you have the habit of stopping at a convenience store to get your breakfast every day. You’re buying ultraprocessed foods, and you’ve been doing this for years. The neuro connections become so strong that even if you decided not to do it again and to start making breakfast at home and exercise, you will relapse because of the strength of the neuro connections.
However, you have started a pattern, and if you continue making breakfast, someday the temptation to buy ultraprocessed foods will no longer be strong because you are weakening the connection of the old habit and strengthening the connection of the new habit.
Once again, the neuro connections of the old habit are becoming weak, and the connections of the new habit are becoming strong.
When you feel that you want to give up and drop your exercise program and continue eating the wrong foods, think again. Everyone who wants to change their habits has relapses. Keep in mind the neuro connection theory and understand that your old habit neuro connections will become weak and your new habit neuro connections will be strong enough someday. Your new choice will become easy. Keep persisting.