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OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time

OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson features the best Big Ideas from the best optimal living books. More wisdom in less time to help you live your greatest life. (Learn more at optimize.me.)
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OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time
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Now displaying: Page 1
Aug 2, 2020
A couple +1s ago we spent some time pulling some weeds together as we created some new habits.
 
How? 
 
By STARTING SMALL and MAKING IT EASY!
 
(Am I repeating myself AND yelling?! Lol. Yes and Yes.)
 
Today I want to spend a little more time on our new property. We’re going to talk about my new weed whacker and the little running Trail Emerson and I created. 
 
First, a confession. 
 
I’d never used a weed whacker before we arrived at our new place out here in the country. (Note: I did mow the lawn (and our elderly neighbor’s lawn) every weekend growing up but I never got promoted to the weed whacker.)
 
And…
 
Just so you know: I’ve spent more time at Home Depot over the last few weeks than I had in my entire life. (Hah.) It’s been awesome.
 
New Identity: Rancher Bri! 
 
Yeehah!
 
So… 
 
One of the first things I did after we arrived? 
 
I created a little running Trail around the perimeter of our property. It’s a heavenly little loop that just so happens to be almost exactly a third of a mile. (Of course, I think in threes so running a mile was a good opportunity to think of The Big 3.)
 
Then Nama visited and suggested we create another part of the Trail at the other side of the property. I mapped it out and saw how it would perfectly connect with our existing loop. Then, after a nice day of Deep Work, I put on my Rancher Bri outfit and got to work.
 
And that’s when I started thinking about neuroplasticity.
 
Quick context: After going through my fair share of weed-whacker re-charges (and re-strings), I’m becoming a little more adept at this whole Trail-creation process.
 
What I learned is that it’s best to start with a simple little narrow strip that’s about a weed-whacker wide to kinda draw a basic directional line of where you want the Trail to go. 
 
Once I get that, I go a little wider. 
 
Then I go a little wider. 
 
Then I’ll rake it out to see what I missed.
 
Then I go back over it and make it just the right width.
 
And, of course, I’m trimming some branches back that might be hanging in the way and all that jazz as I go.
 
Then…
 
Voila. 
 
We have a v1 Trail.
 
Then, the more we go down that path, the more awesome it gets.
 
As it turns out, that’s actually a pretty good metaphor for how our brains wire (and rewire) themselves as we create new behaviors. 
 
I think it was in The Brain That Changes Itself (an amazing book that, for some reason, I haven’t done a Note on yet) that I was introduced to another, similar metaphor. 
 
Enter: Google search for “The Brain That Changes Itself sled metaphor.”
 
Yep.
 
In that great old-school book on neuroplasticity, Norman Doidge quotes Alvaro Pascual-Leone who tells us about the fact that when you go sledding on a freshly-snowed-on mountain, you tend to create a little groove that you tend to follow—both on the way up and the way down. By the end of the day after a bunch of trips up and down, you’re MUCH more likely to follow the grooved pattern.
 
(And, if you want to change those patterns, you're going to need to figure out how to block the old pathways and create some new ones!)
 
That’s what I was thinking about as I weed-whacked the extra .2 miles to our Trail—extending it to a nice .5 mile loop. (Those two laps for a mile make me think of having Strength for 2! Yes. I always think in Optimize-eze. lol)
 
So…
 
Today’s +1.
 
What Habit-Trails are you trying to create in your life?
 
Let’s have a basic MAP of where we’d like to go, be willing to start small (Tiny!) and lay the path for new behaviors as we widen those neural pathways with each pass through.
 
Weed whackers optional. 
 
Oh! 
 
Don’t forget. 
 
When you’re whacking away (on your new habits) in tall grass in a sub-tropical climate, the bug bites and scratches are to be expected.
 
Yeehah!
 
Let’s do this.
 
Today.
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