Let’s face it, change can be really hard. The reason for this is the deeply ingrained connection of habits and neural pathways. Dr Joe Dispenza says it this way, ‘neural pathways that fire together, wire together.’
In other words, the longer you have been doing things one way the stronger the long term connection of neural pathways that support that habit. Meaning the longer you have been one way, the harder it seems to shift into a new way.
There is good news here though.
At one time it was believed by science that once you grow up your brain is basically stuck in the configuration of your youth and there is no changing it. The proverbial, ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ paradigm.
But now science tells us that is far from the truth. The new discoveries in neurobiology teach us that the brain is very capable of something called neuroplasticity. This simply refers to the brain’s ability to grow new dendrites and change to new synaptic pathways firing, thereby creating new experiences.
So you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.
When it comes to changing your health for the better you will be up against the well-rutted neural pathways of your past habits — and so will your partner.
Finding ways to support each other as you implement new health habits, routines and practices will serve both of you immensely when either or both of you hit the ‘wall’ when reinventing your health. Hitting the wall at times is inevitable, so instead of resisting it, how about some strategies to be each other’s support? Here are some tips.
ADD, DON’T SUBTRACT… AT LEAST AT FIRST
One of the ways people fail when attempting to make shifts in their health is to go hog-wild and cut out all the seemingly bad things that are affecting their health. You would think this would be a great idea, and actually works for some, but for the vast majority it is a way of setting up failure.
Making too many dramatic shifts can just be too harsh on your body and even your relationship, quite frankly. In the spirit of avoiding some unnecessary friction in your love life, you may find it a good idea to add the good first, for a while, before eliminating the bad.
For example, try adding that extra litre or two of water to your daily intake before cutting anything out. Or take a deep nutrient supplement, like our Resetwell Fermented Superfood Powder, and add it to your daily intake. It is easy to take and a funny thing starts to happen as you engage in this practice of adding and not subtracting.
What ends up happening as you add rich nutrition (or exercise, or sleep, etc.) is that you have much less of a desire for the things that are lousy for your health. As a result of adding something like Resetwell Fermented Superfood Powder, you may find yourself, almost magically, not having your old sugar cravings take over. Pretty cool really.
It is not a good idea to underestimate the emotional fallout from making changes in your nutrition and health in general. The way you have known your partner could indeed change as the chemistry inside of them begins to change. This is almost always a good thing but can come with its bumps along the road.
Therefore it is a great idea for you both to sit down and examine the lateral shifts you are both willing to do. At this point, the logical question would be what is meant by a lateral shift?
A lateral shift means to simply replace what you are already eating with a better source of what you are already eating.
For example, if hamburgers are a delight in your family, instead of forcing everybody to launch into eating salads, source out good quality, organic, grass-fed beef and serve with organic whole grain or gluten-free sourdough buns.
You can actually do amazing things for your health by making the switch to organic produce because of all the research beginning to show the health risks with conventionally grown ‘roundup-ready’ crops and livestock feed.
Making these lateral shifts is a much gentler way to accomplish your health transformation goals and being sure you and your partner are clear on what each other will and won’t do will go a long way to supporting both of your successes.
CATCH YOUR PARTNER DOING SOMETHING RIGHT
One of the worst things you can do as a couple when it comes to transforming your health (or any other area for that matter) is pointing out where your partner is falling short. Even if it is just in fun it can erode the trust in the relationship over time.
A much better choice is to catch your partner doing something right and let them know about it in a way you know that would be meaningful to them. A good source of understanding how your partner likes to be communicated to is Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages.
Chapman breaks down how most people receive love into these 5 categories, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time & Physical Touch.
Here are some examples that we came up with:
Words of Affirmation: Your partner commits to increase their water consumption so you state (if it is true for you), “I think the water is working, your beautiful eyes are looking so clear and your skin is looking more hydrated.”
Acts of Service: Your wife completes 5 workouts for the week, not great ones, but completes them, so you say, “Honey, congrats on completing all your workouts this week! How about I make you a delicious dinner tonight?”
Receiving Gifts: Your partner has been working hard at making lateral shifts in her diet and loves chocolate, so you do some research and find out that organic dark 85% chocolate is actually a treat that doesn’t spike your glycemic index so you surprise her with a bar.
Quality Time: Your boyfriend has had a hard time with his nutrition adjustments but you recognize the effort it is taking for him. He loves quality time and normally on Thursday nights you have a wine group you go to and you say, “You’ve been really working hard at making your nutrition shifts, how about I forgo my wine club tonight and we cuddle up for a movie?”
Physical Touch: You and your wife have agreed to go for walks every day even though your wife wasn’t really into it at first. After your walk on day 3 you get back home and say, “Honey, I think you deserve a foot rub.” You can fill in the rest.
EXTRA TIPMake it fun and don’t criticize, nobody performs better by receiving unsolicited advice or critique. However, it is of huge value to find a way to help each other see how they are stuck and where they are caught.
By sitting down and discussing how you exchange constructive feedback, on a regular basis, in a way that feels safe for BOTH of you, you will be setting yourselves up for success as a couple that can be far greater than taking things on yourself.