How to learn and unlearn habits

Human beings are often referred to as lifelong learners. Learning is an ongoing, voluntary process where one is constantly self-motivated to enhance social inclusion or personal development. Skills, knowledge and experience are constantly evolving and won’t be relevant six months from now. This is why it is important to constantly upgrade your skills. To remain valuable and to maintain our expertise it is essential to inculcate a process of continuous learning or personal daily learning.


How can you learn a new habit?

You can follow the below steps to make learning a new habit an easier process 


Anchor it to a current habit

Keep a tab on your daily habits and use them as an anchor to trigger to new learnings. This is so that every time you are doing that activity you are reminded of your new activity that you plan to incorporate in your routine. Studies show that each new habit takes at least 21 days to incorporate in your daily schedule. Some may take longer and some may even learn it before.  

Since your current habit is personal to you alone, you will be triggered each time you are performing your anchored activity. For eg: every time you wait for the metro at the station you will research for your positive affirmation for the day or every time you park your car, you will remember to put on the sun screen during the summers. 


Start small and don’t stop

In order to not get overwhelmed at the beginning it is important to start small and ensure you are making progressive strides to up your activity level with each passing time frame. For example, if you are learning to play a new song on the piano, ensure you are first learning the chords and the melody before you delve into learning the entire song at a stretch. Learn small portions at every session. Give it time and don’t be harsh on yourself. A well-thought-out approach will go a long way in ensuring the habit stays with you longer. 


Monitor your progress 

Give yourself short-term goals and ensure you are constantly monitoring your progress. Once your goals are accomplished, take it to another level and continue till you have met your ultimate objective. Continue doing the tasks till it is embedded in your routine as taking a bath. The goal is to build a lifelong habit and make it automatic unconscious part of your day


Learn to unlearn

The role of unlearning is vital in today’s times however, replacing old knowledge is not easy. Unlearning is a process of removing something from your memory. In order to unlearn something, you need to forget it, put it aside and lose knowledge of it. In many cases you want to unlearn something in order to get rid of a bad habit, preconceptions or something that is false. Is it an easy process? No. Can it be done. Yes, certainly. How can you do it:


  1. List any five habits that are holding you back from functioning at your peak potential 
  2. List any five activities you do in a day that aren’t very productive, but you have learned to do it over the years
  3. Re-educate yourself on how can you overcome and unlearn those habits, and take action for at least 21 days based on your research and the new information you have. 


Remember to take action on a consistent basis and you’ll start seeing positive changes in your life.  Learning is important, but unlearning is more important. As there is famous saying ‘you always need to empty the cup before you fill it up again. Unlearning to learn is key as it will give you a whole new perspective on the existing beliefs you have. 

Get in touch with our mind training experts at Evolve Brain Training for a consultation on how you can train your brain through neuroscience to learn a new habit as well as to ace the ‘learn to unlearn’ game. Book your neurofeedback consultation in Dubai by filling out a form and our team will connect with you shortly.

Dr. Upasana Gala is the founder and CEO of Evolve Brain Training, a Neurofeedback-centered institute that focuses on using non-invasive brain training techniques to maximize the brain's true potential.

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