You can teach an old dog new tricks

Yesterday, I found myself crying out ‘I just can’t remember to do it!’ as once again, I realised I’d forgotten to put my keys in the key pot and was instead, racing around the house trying to find them. When we try and do something new or different, we often give up and tell ourselves ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’. Today, I’m here to tell you that oh so comfortable get-out-clause isn’t going to wash anymore. Sob. Why? We now know about Neuroplasticity; the potential our brain has to grow, reorganise and adapt throughout life.

Our brain is made up of billions of neural pathways. These pathways underpin all our thoughts, ideas, behaviours and so on. Much like muscles, the more these pathways are used – by thinking about something, practicing a move and so on – the stronger they get. The less they’re used, the weaker they get. Much like building new muscles, when you first try and focus on a new skill or thought (I.e. use and create new neural pathways), it can feel awkward, clumsy and hard to stick to. Don’t I know it! We can’t be put off though. Training our brain takes a little bit of time – I find 21 days is a pretty good guide.The more we do something, the more neural connections we make and the more automatic it becomes. Plastic Fantastic. By the way, I did eventually find my keys – on the side of the bath. Obviously.