Navigate Your Noggin: How Brain Habits Keep Health on Track

Certain habits form much more easily than others and, often, the habits we need the most take the most effort to establish and maintain. Establishing healthy behaviors such as eating well, regular exercise, and self-care are well worth the effort, but can also be easily derailed by daily challenges, setbacks, or even mishaps. Thankfully, the secret to success lies in creating healthy habits that are simple — and enjoyable — to maintain.

The concept of a “brain map” involves the neural pathways the mind forms when we incorporate certain behaviors and habits into our daily lives. These become ingrained as the behaviors we follow “without thinking.” However, these habits can be accidentally (or purposely) overridden by other behaviors, causing us to fall out of the healthy “groove” we established and need to re-learn the habits. This is due to the brain’s neural plasticity, its ability to form new pathways and behaviors.

Get Strict

Sticking to a strict diet is difficult when faced with a world of temptations and obstacles. You may relax your diet “just this once,” but this can often lead to old habits taking over before you know it. What can you do to avoid losing the healthy habits you’ve worked hard to establish?

The Brain’s Preferences

First, it’s essential to understand that the brain thrives on routine — a daily groove where you can complete tasks and activities without much thought. By regularly sticking to healthy and mindful practices, the brain becomes accustomed to this lifestyle. Once a habit is established, it becomes much easier to maintain it, reaping the long-term benefits of a healthier life.


Drift occurs when small changes in daily habits begin to pull you away from your established routine. To prevent these one-time events from becoming daily activities, practice mindfulness and awareness when they occur. If an event or deviation from your routine doesn’t align with your broader personal goals, make sure not to let it become a daily habit.

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Routine

  1. Set a realistic goal from the outset. Make sure your intentions are clear and achievable.
  2. Consider the positive outcomes you will experience once you achieve these goals.
  3. Remind yourself daily of your goals and their outcomes.
  4. Be mindful of minor changes in your routine that cause drift.
  5. Don’t let external influences override your brain map and create a new, unhealthy habit.
  6. Plan and prepare in advance to stay on track with your healthy habits.
  7. Maintain a clear vision of your life and the results you’re seeking.
  8. Be open to making adjustments in your routine, but don’t let negative changes disrupt your overall goals.
  9. Don’t fear setbacks. Embrace the challenges to get back into your healthy routine.

Establishing and maintaining a healthy routine takes time, effort, and a conscious commitment—but the results are worth it. Gently reinforce your momentum and motivation, and you’ll soon find your healthy habits ingrained as second nature. Remember, the key to success lies in creating habits that are easy and enjoyable to maintain, so make sure your routine supports your goals while nurturing your well-being.