How are habits formed?


How are habits formed? Psychologically, it could be explained that habit is a way of how a person wills or thinks regularly. A habit may be described as a feeling which a person acquires through repetition of a physical or mental experience. Display of habits may be done subconsciously as it goes unnoticed among people who exhibit a particular behavior. People usually do not find it necessary to do any self-analysis when they get to perform some routine tasks.

The process of forming habits

Habit formation is a process through which new kinds of behavior get adopted and then get performed regularly. We find that old habits are generally tough to break while new habits are difficult to form as the patterns of behavior that get repeated are embedded in the neural channels of our brain. However, new habits could be formed by means of repetition. The major features of habitual and automatic behavior are absence of awareness and a subconscious striving to be efficient. The ability to build good habits will eventually determine how effective you become in the tasks that you perform and the amount of satisfaction that you would get doing those tasks.

The real process of forming habits is rather slow. The average time to form a habit is 66 days on an average as per a study done by psychologists. They have assigned a range of 20 to 150 days towards formation of a particular habit.

When a habit is in the process of forming, it could be categorized into three forms and they are the cue, rewards and the routine behavioral tasks.

The cue motivates the habit to form and triggers the habit to become part of behavior. This could be almost anything that is associated by the mind with a particular habit and it automatically allows that habit to surface. If you are in the habit of drinking alcohol in the evening after you come back home and you find that you are developing an unhealthy paunch, you could give yourself a cue when you reach home that you need to drink something else or divert your mind so that you avoid drinking alcohol every day. The cue helps you in changing the habit loop.

The reward is the feeling of positivity about a certain act or task done regularly. Rewards are good motivators as they take care of satisfying your cravings that motivate your behavior. You could experiment with various rewards. You could reward yourself with an alternative to skip alcohol by opting for a drink like ginger ale and play your favorite video game to divert your mind.

Routine behavior is the actual performance of a particular task or act. Your routine could be changed in a positive way when you analyze your habits and change them for good. You could start going for an evening walk to reduce obesity. [.]

Triggering of habits

Habits could also be triggered by goals or objectives over a period of time and as days go by, the objective becomes less important and the habits take on an automatic emphasis. Today, you would come across digital tools along with mobile and online apps to support formation of habits. To give you an example, `habitrpg’ is a tool to use gaming habits and implement strategies in the world of video games; it also has reference to tasks in real life where rewards could be added to replace gold, points or experience.

Certain habits are referred to as `keystone’ and they lead to the buildup of various other habits. Keystone habit is a habit that serves as a platform for other habits to grow out of it at a later stage. For example, when a person develops a habit to exercise regularly, it may lead to healthy eating. In offices, safety measures could turn into keystone habits, which influence higher productivity.

A habit could, therefore, be explained as a behavior pattern that is acquired and followed regularly until it becomes an involuntary act. An example could be learning to look both ways before crossing a street. The formation of a habit is a process by which a particular behavior pattern becomes automatic. For example, you may like to drink coffee as soon as you get up every morning and that can form into a habit.

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