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Start the year with new purposes and new goals ilusionares to fulfill.

On the other hand perhaps despite some of us the experience of not having reached some goal of which we proposed on previous occasions. This could discourage us.

I want to focus today on a key factor when it comes to changing a habit or achieving a purpose: repetition.

In tennis, if I decide to change my forehand in order to improve my technique, and therefore my results in the game, the first thing I will have to do is to be clear how I want it to be that new forehand.

Once you have it clear, the next thing will be to start practicing it, ideally with someone to give me feedback on my new coup. Chances are you need some time (the amount depends on many factors) so that this new coup is incorporated into my repertoire of play on a permanent.

At the beginning of the process I will be able to strike once in a while, but the “old coup” is going to reappear intermittently. At some point I think I know how to hit, but under pressure, being tired, or just being distracted, my new coup can give way to the old.

The truth is that by dint of practicing, little by little, the blow is coming out in a more natural way.

An American tennis teacher, good friend of mine, used to say to his students: “What three things are the most important to improve our level of tennis”? He listened to the students ‘ answers and then stated: “Practice, practice and practice.”

At first we feel that the new coup is “rare”, it is not natural, we even think that is not right, because it is not what we know. This will be a good symptom, the blow is beginning to change. You will soon perceive as something natural that at first you were uncomfortable. You must have made that new hit “Yours” being automated.

Do you find any parallels with what happens to you in your life when you propose to change something or do you propose a new habit?

Neuroscience provides an explanation for the fact that repetition produces the desired results. Until the neural connections in our brain are established, a thought or behavior will not be automated.

Our nature follows the law of minimum effort, that is, it does not want to spend energy in thinking every time how we are going to do one thing. “The old right-hand blow” does not require any mental effort on our part, it comes out “alone”.

In the face of a stimulus – the opponent steers the ball to my right – I respond by hitting my forehand without thinking. Only if I want to do it another way will I have to pay attention and train it consciously to change it.

We found many sources that support the idea that we need 21 days to change a habit. Regardless of the accuracy of this data, what is clear is that we need to do something in a sustained way for some time to change. Once that period has elapsed, we will do it automatically and with less effort.

Marta Romo, in her book “Train Your Brain”, tells us about the neuroplasticity of the brain understood as “the ability of the brain to increase or decrease the number of neuronal ramifications and synapses (union between neurons), from a stimulus. It gives us the good news that adults can also learn and develop our brains against the old idea that their ability is genetically determined.

New stimuli will create new responses and these are automatically produced by our brain thanks to the creation of new neural connections. In his book, Marta establishes the simile of the neural connections with the furrows created by a wheel on a path. These will become deeper the more times the vehicle travels along the way. The same thing happens with our neural connections, the more the stimulus repeats and the better the response will be fixed that connection. Hence the importance of repetition.

Now all you have to do is put your hands on it. I propose these simple steps:

1. Define The goal you want to achieve by making sure it really motivates you.

2. Define in a plan what actions you are going to carry out to achieve it.

3. Write a statement where you verbalices who you are and what you want to achieve including some value of yours (e.g.: “I am Juan, creative and passionate and I will write an article on the topics I like once a week.”). Repeat this statement several times a day.

4. Use the technology to remind you of your plan and your affirmation in an attractive way (voice memos, alarms, videos, music, etc.)

5. Set up indicators to let you know you’re on the right track.

6. Ask someone in your environment to be honest feedback on your progress.

7. Celebrate the successes you are getting and share it with your family and friends.

8. Enjoy the road “practicing, practicing, practicing”.

! I wish you a lot of success in everything that you propose to change in 2018!

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