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Mental Health

How to Stop Making the Same Old Mistakes

Repetition is key if you want to rewire your brain and stop repeated blunders.

Does making the same mistakes annoy you? You could kick yourself when you forget to take bags on the weekly shop, again, or repeatedly get to work five minutes late, but what would be the point? Here’s a better way to stop unwanted behaviors.

Rewire your brain

Don’t panic; you don’t need surgery to change neural connections. Repetition is key if you want to rewire your brain and stop repeated blunders. Until now, you’ve echoed mistakes until they became normal to you. They’ve turned into patterns.

Behaviors change when old connections are overridden by repetitive new acts. If you want to stop hitting the snooze button in the morning, for instance, move your alarm clock to the other side of the room.

You’ll have to get up to turn it off. In time, you can put the clock back on your bedside cabinet. The new behavior pattern of rising when the alarm rings will be a habit.

Use cues

Cues can remind you to do or not do things. Imagine you want to sit up straight when you watch TV. Place a postural wedge cushion on your chair–you don’t even need to use it–and, when you see it, you’ll remember not to slouch.

You can get rid of unhelpful cues too. That plate of cookies on the kitchen table isn’t helpful when you want to give up junk foods for instance. You won’t make as many mistakes if you reduce triggers. Some mistakes die hard; it takes ages to create the patterns that sustain them, so you won’t undo them overnight. Be persistent when you carry out new habits, though, and you will rewire your brain.

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