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Our Brains are Plastic....Neuroplastic! Which is good news because it means that we can learn new habits!

If you’re like me and nearly 40% of the U.S. population, the beginning of a new year brings with it a desire to create better habits. We feel an urge to add a new routine, change a behavior or create a new pattern of thinking. 

But by February, some of us feel like we’re in the movie “Groundhog Day;” we’re back to the same old sub-optimal routine. Change takes energy and we can’t “find” our motivation because we’re exhausted and overwhelmed.

Luckily, recent data tells us that we can still create new habits or change old patterns without a ton of time or effort. Conditions don’t have to be perfect nor do you need to feel completely prepared to make a change. What you really need is momentum

Presently, I'm using momentum and my new favorite tool of "habit stacking" to automate my goal of meditating most days. Habit stacking is the act of adding a new behavior to an already well-established routine. The current pattern will theoretically "cue" you to perform the new behavior. I'm testing this hypothesis by integrating meditation into my morning flow: 

1. At night, I charge my iPhone/alarm in the en suite bathroom.

2. When the alarm rings in the morning, I'm forced to leap out of bed as I don't want the sounds to wake Maya.

3. Next, I "high-five" myself in the mirror, which is supposed to foster positivity. 

4. Then, I drink a cup of water laced with apple cider vinegar (ACV).

5. Finally, I mediate while standing on the vibration plate that lives in a corner of my bathroom. (Stay tuned for vibration plate info soon but just know that it helps make mundane tasks more fun!) 

Making time for meditation has long been a challenge for me but it helps that I have the momentum of my solid morning routine. (And yes, location could also be seen as a cue.)

Finally, prepare for missed days as you build your new routine. Expecting 100% compliance may even prevent you from meeting your goal. Instead, coach yourself with positive self-talk as it increases your success. I love the phrase “most days,” as it allows me to have the flexibility to start fresh the next day if I slip-up.

As always, thank you for doing this with me!

P.S. Do yourself a solid and add the beneficial habit of massage to your self-care routine! Here's a note from my colleague and friend Michelle Bennett, Licensed Massage Therapist: 

"I've recently been recovering from surgery and now I am back and raring to go! While I was off, I increased my knowledge with pre and post-natal massage training and I have luxurious pregnancy pillows that my clients love. What a great way to relax while pregnant!

While recovering I also studied Lomi Lomi massage, Indian Head massage and I added facial cupping to my dynamic cupping offerings. I’m trained in Swedish and Shiatsu and I use warm rocks and warm, moist towels to wrap your feet for extra pampering during your massage.

I am a Preferred Provider with the following insurance carriers: Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, BCBS Federal Employee Program (FEP), Devoted, Providence Health Plan, Regence BCBS of Oregon and Premera Blue Cross.  My billing specialist can verify your medical massage benefits and you can book appointments online at my website:

Come on in and get pampered with a therapeutic massage. I also sell gift certificates if you need a special gift for a special person in your life."

Double Bonus: You can find Michelle in serene, ocean-themed Room 4 at Keahi Health and you may even get to see photos of her new puppy, Thor!

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