Exos | Formerly Core Performance

Set Your Fitness Goals. We'll Help You Achieve Them.

Join for free and you'll gain instant access to our tracking and reporting tools, expert coaching tips, and a free trial to our personalized training and nutrition programs.


One Small Change

Train Your Brain

Hill Street Studios / Getty Images

Beneath your skin is a web of interconnected tissue called fascia. This three-dimensional sheath encompasses your entire body. But with age and disuse it tightens and dries out, producing aches, injuries and the classic, hunched-over, old-person look. I suspect a similar thing happens in our brains, if only metaphorically speaking. With age and disuse, its once-vibrant web of interconnectivity becomes tired and slow to spark, producing dullness, distance, and even depression. Just as inactivity and routine kills the body, habit dooms the brain.

Since you’re on this site, you likely understand how important it is to vary your workouts and keep progressing to keep your muscles challenged and your body fit. But what would happen if we became just as diligent about pulling our minds off the plateaus they settle upon by regularly changing their experience?

I’m not talking about jumping out of airplanes or vacationing in Bora Bora. Although it’s good to have bucket lists that include things like that, such adventures usually happen too infrequently to have a lasting effect. I’m talking about shaking up life within everyday life—doing a regular mind-stretching workout that involves one small new “exercise” per day. It could be as simple as taking a different route to work, or sleeping on the other side of the bed, or brushing your teeth with the opposite hand. Like your muscles, the brain feeds and grows off new experience. With a conditioning plan like this, how ripped could it get?

If you’re like me, there are probably instances throughout each day when you can’t remember how you got somewhere, what you ate for dinner the previous night, or something that other people insist you said. Don’t worry; this isn’t early-onset dementia. Rather, for most busy men and women, it's normal.

This foggy state of mind doesn’t so much frighten me, as it makes me angry. Life is too short and wonderful to sleepwalk through it. I want to be as mindful as I possibly can be of it. But I’ve accumulated so many habits over the decades—many that I’m not even aware of—that I live on autopilot.

But this month is going to be different. For the next 31 days, I’m going to do at least one little new thing each day. Not parking in my usual spot, shopping at a different supermarket, getting up at a different time of day, listening to a new radio station, ordering something different at my favorite restaurant…in other words, trying to break all the comfortable habits that are constricting my brain fascia, so to speak, and turning me into a robot.

Along the way, I’ll also be consulting with neurologists and other brain experts to understand more fully how the mind operates and, most important, how to keep it in shape. I'll even provide a test you can take to measure your brain fitness. If you’d like to join me, simply break one little habit today, then another one tomorrow and then another the day after that.

We'll see where it takes us....

About The Author

Joe Kita – Joe Kita is a noted writer, editor, motivational speaker and teacher. He authors the blog "One Small Change" for CorePerformance.com.

Read Full Bio

Tags: Focus, Attitude, Longevity, Health