Rewire Your Brain: 3 Stages of Mental Transformation

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The 5 AM Club" by Robin Sharma. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What does it take to rewire your brain and change your ingrained behavior patterns once and for all? How does the brain adapt to this change?

True behavior change is hard. You essentially need to rewire your brain to let go of familiar and standard ways of doing things. According to Robin Sharma, this happens in three stages: 1) destruction, 2) installation, and 3) integration.

Keep reading to learn how to to rewire your brain and set your mind for success.

What Does It Take to Rewire Your Brain?

According to Robin Sharma, the author of The 5 AM Club, it takes 66 days to rewire your brain and create new, ingrained behavior. You will travel through three different stages along the way before your behavior becomes automatic: destruction, installation, and integration. 

Phase 1: Destruction

To rewire your brain and integrate new behaviors, the old you has to die for the new you to be born. You will require a high level of willpower to kill off the old you because the forces of that old life will do what they can to hold you down. 

This stage will last for 22 days, during which time the gravity of your old life will hold your growth hostage. But the more you wage war with your old self and succeed in implementing positive change, your ability to escape those clutches increases. This is called “escape velocity,” and you build it by the momentum of your continual efforts to rise above your fears and discomfort to reach for something greater. Stay disciplined with the new behavior, and you will make it over the first hurdle and move on to the next. 

Phase 2: Installation

At this point, you’ve successfully fought your inner demons and destroyed your old way of living. You have a clean slate, and this is the moment when you start to rewire your brain to install the desired behavior. The installation phase is challenging because the energy it takes to rewire your brain and fully connect the new pathway from neuron to neuron is considerable. Your other faculties will begin to suffer as a result. 

You’ll start to feel discombobulated, anxious, and out of control. The stress of experiencing this level of instability will make you want to give up even more than before. But continue forward because this high level of confusion and exhaustion is the consequence of positive changes happening inside. 

This phase will last for another 22 days. Be patient and disciplined. Each day lays another one of the 22 bricks necessary to reach implementation. Stick to your ritual, and you will soon reap the benefit of all your suffering. 

Phase 3: Integration

The light at the end of the tunnel begins on Day 1 of your final 22 days, or Day 45 of the process. Your neural pathway of your new behavior is almost completed. Your ability to wake up at 5 AM is easier now, and as you continue the ritual over these final 22 days, you reinforce your new behavioral pathway. And at the end of those days, you will have reached the point of automaticity. You no longer have to think about performing your ritual because it is now ingrained behavior. 

Joining the 5 AM Club as a full member creates a new foundation for your life that allows you to continue growing to exponential levels. From this new foundation, you can build additional new habits. This is how masters build exceptional lives. They don’t stop with one great habit. They use their increased strength and discipline to continue growing.

Rewire Your Brain: 3 Stages of Mental Transformation

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  • What the Victory Hour is and how it can change your life
  • Why an early morning routine activates your creative and productive potential
  • Why the first hour after you wake up is your most productive

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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