A habit is a form of learned behavior that we do without thinking about it. Ninety-five percent of the things we do, we have done before. Without habits, we would need to make conscious decisions about everything. We would need to stop and think before brushing our teeth, getting dressed in the morning, making our bed and driving to work. Imagine what a stress on the brain that would be.
Instead, habits allow us to perform thousands of routine tasks without causing a mental overload. In this sense, habits are very powerful and very necessary.
- Some habits -- such as a healthy diet and getting regular exercise -- are good
- Other habits -- like eating because we are bored or stressed -- help keep us in our comfort zones instead of reaching our goals
- And some habits -- such as consistently overeating, smoking or drinking to excess -- are just plain bad
Since our goal is to enjoy a healthier lifestyle, we want to increase the healthy habits. To do so, we have to become more aware of our habits and make a conscious decision whether those habits help us achieve our goals.
Bad habits can be broken and good habits can be learned.
Think about a bad habit.
- What makes it desirable?
- What makes it undesirable?
- What can you do to replace it with something that is healthy for you?
Eliminating a habit entirely is more difficult than replacing it with a more productive habit, so it’s important to exchange the bad habit with a good one.
1. Acknowledge your bad habits and how they keep you from reaching your health goals
2. Replace a bad habit with a good one
3. Document your thoughts and new plan so you can refer back to them often
Because a habit is a learned behavior, you have the power within yourself to change it. Take advantage of that power and use it to your benefit to create healthy habits.