A significant number of people make new year resolutions at the beginning of a brand-new year. In order to realise our new year resolutions, we need to make conscious efforts to adjust our daily actions and lifestyle habits. By adjusting what we think and do, our brains change.
Recent scientific breakthrough has identified the possibilities of Neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is thought to be “a complex, multifaceted, fundamental property of the brain.” While some neural functions seem to be hard-wired in specific, localised sections of the brain, certain neural networks demonstrate modularity and carry out specific functions while also retaining the capacity to deviate from their usual functions and to reorganise themselves. Recent scientific breakthrough indicates Neuroplasticity is the brain’s capacity to form and re-form neural networks in the brain, in response to new information, sensory stimulation, development, or even possible dysfunction.
At every coaching / facilitation session, I start off with an explanation about the Comfort Zone to my learners. The Comfort Zone is the space that people tend to be comfortable with. We are familiar with the places, the people and the processes. The comfort zone is akin to an old pair of sneakers. We wear it too often until that pair of sneakers is worn out, and we refuse to change because we have grown accustomed to it.
However, being comfortable in our Comfort Zone is not necessarily a good thing in the long run. When we get too comfortable with our Comfort Zone, we are less nimble to respond to new people, new places and new processes. Inertia sets in. Inertia accelerates the ageing process in the human body.
In fact, the Comfort Zone cancels out creativity and innovation. Problem solving occurs because we locate problems that need to be tackled and resolved. In our Comfort Zone, there is no problems and there is nothing to resolve.
Whether children or adults, every time we learn a new fact or skill, we change our brains. By trying something new, we step out of our Comfort Zone, and activate neuroplasticity. While we may get a little uncomfortable with new areas of unknown, we could also discover new magic.
Some suggestions of new things to try out this month, or this year:
- Explore a new neighbourhood
- Converse with a neighbour you have never spoken to
- Try a new ingredient, recipe, cooking method, chef
- Meet up with an old friend, former colleague, business contact. Connect over a cup of coffee, or tea.
- Experience a different (independent) café, eatery, bistro, hawker stall. Savour new flavours and support local businesses.
- Visit a museum
- Explore a bookstore
- Cultivate a new hobby
- Live in the present moment.
To help you activate your neuroplasticity, which is the first thing you will try this new year? What would help you fulfill your new year resolutions?