Break bad habits for good

Break bad habits for good

The human brain is hard-wired for pleasure. Humans even have a unique “pleasure circuit” that other animals don’t have. At its best, this pleasure circuit rewards us for things like helping others, exercising and meditating. At its worst, it craves short-term fixes like sugary foods, alcohol and drugs.

The human brain is also adaptable. It can heal from major injuries. It can learn amazing new skills. This adaptability is known as plasticity – and it means we can reprogram the brain and its pleasure circuit however we like. Neuro-associative conditioning, developed by Tony Robbins, can help us do this.

But what is neuro-associative conditioning, exactly? How can you use it to achieve your goals?

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What is neuro associative conditioning?

Neuro-associative conditioning is a powerful set of techniques you can use to take control of your life. Tony developed this effective system based on decades of experience working with all kinds of people and studying many different types of therapy. It’s based on neuro-linguistic programming, but takes those techniques and strategies even further, creating entirely new pathways in your brain. Neuro-associative conditioning can break self-destructive habits and change your mindset – and your life – for the better.

Step one: Decide

Focus is always your first decision: Before you can work toward any goals, you must decide what they are. Too many people spend their lives focusing on what they don’t want: to be lonely, unhealthy or stuck in an unfulfilling job. The key to step one is to go deeper – what is it that you do want instead? Be as specific as possible: I want to lose 10 pounds and run a 10-minute mile. I want to start my own software company. Getting laser-focused on your goals is an essential step for neuro-associative conditioning, providing the foundation on which all the other steps are built.

a person is holding a glowing ball in their hands .
Step two: Leverage

To fully commit to your mission, you need to reprogram your brain. Using neuro-associative programming, you’ll associate massive pleasure with achieving your goals – and massive pain with any actions that detract from your goals. You can do this by asking quality questions: What will it cost me if I don’t make this change? How will I feel when I accomplish my goals? Imagine you’re old and gray, reflecting on your life. Picture the answers to both questions vividly. You never quit your 9-to-5 to strike out on your own, and your life was filled with boredom and regret. Or you took the chance, and your life was filled with excitement, adventure and success. There is no middle ground.

a woman is sitting in a lotus position with her eyes closed .
Step three: Interrupt

You’ve mastered neuro-associative conditioning, and you’ll accept nothing short of achieving your goals. Now it’s time to examine your limiting beliefs and discover what’s holding you back. We all have thoughts and behaviors that don’t serve us – yet we carry them with us as a result of our upbringing and our past experiences. We may think we don’t deserve to be healthy and happy, so we reach for another piece of cake. When you recognize this pattern, you can interrupt it: Slap your hand away – hard! When you’re tempted to turn on Netflix instead of working on your business map, unplug the TV and put it in the closet. Neuro-associative conditioning interrupts your negative patterns in a dramatic way, so you’ll learn to associate them with negative consequences instead of positive ones.

Step four: Create

Associating pain with actions that aren’t in line with your goals is only one part of neuro-associative conditioning. You must replace those old patterns with new, empowering alternatives. Reach for a healthy snack instead, and imagine you’re enjoying it as much as that piece of cake. When you stand up to go to the fridge, keep going out the door and take a walk instead. Replace Netflix-watching with journaling, meditation or visualization practices that can help you reach your goals. Modeling is another strategy that’s helpful here: Find someone who has created the life you want and study them. Model their habits and build a similar path to success.

a woman is walking down a dirt road .
Step five: Condition

Neuro-associative conditioning rebuilds the reward center of your brain: The more you perform your new habit, the more your brain will send out “reward molecules” like serotonin and dopamine. These molecules help to carve out a new pathway in your brain – one that associates your new habits with feelings that are even more pleasurable than the old ones. Instead of getting a quick sugar high from cake, you feel energetic and alive all day when you eat healthy. Instead of struggling to get out of bed and feeling distracted all day, you feel focused and driven when you incorporate a morning ritual into your routine. All you have to do is make sure you’re performing your positive habits. With the right neuro-associative programming, your brain will do the rest.

a woman is sitting at a table eating a salad with a fork .
Step six: Test

All new habits will eventually be tested. You’ll go on vacation and be tempted by an endless buffet. You’ll head to happy hour with friends and be tempted to stay out all night – and feel sluggish and unfocused the next day. You can get ahead of the temptations by testing the strength of your neuro associative conditioning using a visualization technique called future pacing. Imagine yourself in a tempting situation, like at the buffet or looking at a text message inviting you to happy hour. What are your options? What are the consequences? What do you do? If you make the wrong choice, go back to step five and continue conditioning until you’ve mastered the behavior.

Ready to transform your life?

Overcoming your limiting beliefs is essential to unlocking the full potential of neuro associative conditioning. Use Tony’s proven techniques to learn how.

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