This article originally appeared in MindBodyGreen.

According to neurohacker and MIT and Harvard-trained brain researcher Elizabeth Ricker, author of Smarter Tomorrow, the journey to optimal brain health is not a paved road but a ladder: Imagine the very best version of your brain is waiting for you on the other side of a tall fence and the only way to grasp it is by climbing over to the other side. The question becomes: How do you hurl yourself over this fence? "The answer is you climb one rung of the ladder at a time," she says on this episode of the mindbodygreen podcast

Point being: To upgrade your brain and maintain its health, the best plan of action is to take it slow, optimizing each step. That's why Ricker declares just 15 minutes of work per day can do the trick—with the right intention and research-backed remedies, she says you can train your brain for the long haul.