3/20/2023 | By Annie Tobey

An overview of “12 Weeks to a Sharper You – A Practical Guide: Build a Better Brain at Any Age,” by Sanja Gupta, MD. Reviewed by Seniors Guide editor Annie Tobey.

Knowledge is the first step in change, but sometimes knowledge alone isn’t enough. In 2021, neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta published “Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age.” His book examined the scientific foundations of brain health and performance and described eight ways the brain can break down. He also offered six science-based ways to nurture brain health as well as a program for establishing healthier habits.

Reading a book like this can inspire us to change, but the lessons can quickly fade, leaving the potential for positive change in the dust.

Gupta’s follow-up book, “12 Weeks to a Sharper You – A Practical Guide: Build a Better Brain at Any Age,” reiterates some of “Keep Sharp.” It begins with an overview of the six elements of brain health, sets a foundation for working toward change, and then provides a 12-week program to help imbed healthy new mind-building habits.

The program is similar to the one in “Keep Sharp” but goes deeper. Each week offers very practical suggestions and journaling pages. Each week focuses on achieving goals in one of 12 specific areas:

  • Week 1: Kickstart in Your Kitchen
  • Week 2: Move More
  • Week 3: Cultivate Beauty Sleep for Your Brain
  • Week 4: Find Your Tribe
  • Week 5: Be a Student of Life
  • Week 6: Activate Antidotes to Stress
  • Week 7: Find Your Flow
  • Week 8: Do Something That Scares You (Every Day)
  • Week 9: Take Note, Troubleshoot, and Edit
  • Week 10: Get Real and Have a Plan
  • Week 11: Self-Reflect
  • Week 12: Rinse, Recycle, and Repeat

The topics go beyond the expected admonitions (eat better, exercise, and get a good night’s sleep!). For example, the eighth week includes a list of potentially challenging tasks, from “talk to a stranger” and “forgive someone who wronged you” to “get a massage” and “renovate a room.” As Gupta explains, this isn’t meant to encourage risky behaviors like skydiving but to get us out of our comfort zones, thus tapping different areas of our brains.

These 12 weeks of focusing on improving our brains can establish habits that will improve the rest of our lives – whether we’re 65 or 15.

Annie Tobey

Annie Tobey has been a professional writer and editor for more than 30 years. As editor of BOOMER magazine, she explored a diversity of topics of particular interest to adult children of seniors. When she’s not writing, she can be found running the trails or enjoying a beer with friends.

Annie Tobey