How to solidify healthy new habits

In this podcast (episode #563) and blog, I talk about the importance of step 5 in my Neurocycle process: the active reach. This is a replay of a Neurolive webinar I did on my app. For the full webinar AD-free, please see

In case you haven’t listened to any of my other podcasts or read any of my books or research, the Neurocycle is a way to harness our thinking power that I have developed and researched over the past three decades. (I discuss this in detail in my book Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess and my app Neurocycle.) It has 5 steps. The first step is to 1. gather awareness of how we feel mentally and physically and our perspective when we are dealing with a past wound. The second step is to 2. reflect on how we feel. Then we 3. write down our reflections to help organize our thinking. The fourth step is to 4. recheck: think about what our thoughts and feelings are trying to tell us. What does it say about what happened to us? What is our “antidote”— how will we work through how our thoughts are affecting us? Lastly, do the 5. active reach. This is a thought or action we need to practice daily to help us reconceptualize what we thought about in the previous step. What we are going to do each day to give ourselves the time and mental space needed to deal with what is bothering us and turn our destructive thoughts into a constructive future? 

The active reach is all about practice, or applying the new way of thinking in your life. It is an action you do as many times as possible during the day to practice the reconceptualized thought from step 4 above. It keeps you anchored and helps you to not fall back into old patterns of thinking, acting and choosing.

The active reach is a like a full stop or period at the end of a sentence. It is something that you can do to help you gain mental peace and progress forward. It is designed to help you find ways to navigate through the day.

You practice the active reach at least 7 times a day to remind you of the new, positive way of thinking that you are working on. This is how you make this new thought a habit: by planting it deep into your nonconscious mind through practice so that you don’t have to consciously think about it all the time—it essentially becomes a part of how you function. This is why it takes time to do the Neurocycle (in 63 day cycles), as you cannot change your thinking overnight.

The active reach has two parts: 

  • A self-encouraging statement that incorporates what you worked out in the recheck step.
  • An action you can do today to practice what you have learned from steps 1-4 of the Neurocycle, that also helps you cope when things get tough. This can be a quote, or an action like tapping your feet, hugging or deep breathing. 

Some examples of active reaches are: 

  • Reminding yourself that you are not a bad person for taking care of yourself, while setting new boundaries to give yourself the space you need to work on your wellbeing.
  • Telling yourself that if someone doesn’t like you, this doesn’t mean you are unlovable. Practice mantras like “How other people see me does not determine my worth” or “I will not give people the power to be my judge, jury and executioner.”

For more on active reaches, listen to my podcast (episode #563). If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).    

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Podcast Highlights

1:00 How the active reach can help anchor us

2:40 Why the active reach is important 

9:42, 22:45 What the active reach is 

23:48 Examples of active reaches

This podcast and blog are for educational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional.      

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