With January nearly behind us, many people have found that making a list of new year’s resolutions isn’t extremely difficult. The challenge for most of us is figuring out how to actually achieve them. That said, there’s no doubt that forming new habits – and building routines around them – can positively impact your success. Whether your wellness routine needs a complete revamp or a simple tweaking, building healthy habits is a crucial first step in making positive changes.
You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.James Clear, Author of Atomic Habits
The human brain is made up of a network of interconnected cells called neurons. Neurons facilitate communication between the brain and the body, making thoughts and actions possible. When we repeat tasks each day, we strengthen the bonds between neurons in our brain. More specifically, with repetition and time, the ‘cable’ of a neuron (axon) becomes coated with myelin. Myelin is a fatty substance that acts as a current director, ensuring that impulses (messages) can travel more quickly and efficiently from one neuron to another. The more myelinated axons we have, the better our foundation for habit formation.
Like all other regions and systems in our bodies, we must get an adequate amount of certain nutrients to help support brain health. Nutrients that are known to support brain function include:
- Magnesium – Magnesium plays an essential role in nerve transmission and neuromuscular function. It also helps protect the brain from developing multiple neurological disorders.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C helps modulate neurotransmitter synthesis and release in the brain. Vitamin C also acts as a potent antioxidant, helping to protect the brain from toxins and free radicals.
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D is neuroprotective in that it supports immune function and helps sustain calcium balance. It is also involved with regulating many genes important for brain function.
- Zinc – Zinc plays an important role in axonal and synaptic transmission. Additionally, a lack of zinc is associated with impaired DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis during brain development.
- Inositol – One of the most important nutrients you’ve never heard of… neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin etc.) rely on inositol to relay messages between nerve cells.
- Choline – Choline is an essential nutrient that is required for normal development of the brain.
Getting all of these brain-boosting nutrients into your diet on a daily basis can sometimes be the biggest challenge of all. This is especially true if you have issues with absorption or have food sensitivities.
Tips for Building Long-Lasting Habits and Routines
1. Start by Scaling Back
All too often, we try to tackle too much too quickly… and inevitably, the new habit doesn’t stick. Starting with small, manageable changes allows us to adjust slowly.
2. Set Up Your Environment for Success
Our immediate environment is a great place to start a habit-forming journey. Want to start a morning workout routine? Start the night before. Put your workout clothes by your bedside, or have your gym bag packed and ready to go. The easy access to your gear and agony-free decisions will increase the chances that you’ll get that workout in.
3. Build a Portable Routine
If your day-to-day schedule fluctuates, sticking to routines based on certain times of the day may not always work. This is when a portable routine can come in handy.
Think of a portable routine as a list of tasks you would like to accomplish each day. These tasks can be completed at any time during the day. Perhaps your list includes taking a twenty-minute walk, eating a serving of vegetables, or visiting B12 LOVE to stock up on nutrients. This on-the-go routine provides flexibility that will help make achieving your goals more manageable.
Btw, B12 LOVE’s new booking interface makes it even easier for you to schedule appointments with us for services. Ask one of our medical professionals to help you create a routine that best fits your health, fitness, or wellness goals.
Happy habit forming!
Co-Authored by Emily Crichton and Catherine MacDougall