Habits are an essential ingredient of our daily life . In fact; the most successful people are those with the best habits. And when we refer to habits, it is taking into account a wide range: life, health, financial, work, etc.
There is no doubt that the issue of habits is central in many ways. For this reason, they have been studied by disciplines such as psychology and sociology . In addition, much has been speculated on the discipline necessary to have positive habits.
What are habits?
Of course, before continuing it is necessary to clarify this concept. The truth is, habits are something we experience every day. What happens is that we do not realize it! They become unspoken, we fulfill them without realizing it and wrapped in the mysteries of custom. Therefore, it is very difficult to be aware of habits.
The habits represent the final fruits of learning which are specified in a way to be and act the individual, which tend to occur later in more or less accurately.
Habits differ from drives , such as the automatic sucking of the baby’s breast milk, because it is acquired. It happens that habits can be cultivated and learned. Even having or quitting a habit is often a choice. For example, when making the decision to quit smoking.
Habits, regardless of what they are, are structured by three components , which are constantly and unconsciously repeated each time they appear: a) the trigger, b) the routine and c) the reward.
- The trigger or reminder responds to an unconscious impulse.
- Routine is the behavior that occurs thanks to the trigger.
- The reward is the fruit of that habitual behavior.
But, habits can be good or bad, favorable or unfavorable , harmful or healthy. That which is regularly already part of daily life can become a catapult for personal development or a real obstacle.
There are positive habits and negative habits
The good habits are what allow dreams, plans, goals educational and professional someday materialize. And this is because, obviously, habits are routine actions and behaviors that are executed automatically.
The subject must carry out routines and processes that keep him focused and directed towards his objectives, if that concentration will be impossible to achieve them. For each new objective, the creation of a new habit will correspond, since this is the one that allows us to achieve the objective.
The objectives are then like a kind of wheels on which habits are reached . The point is that many times there are habits that are born without having objectives. It can be said that bad habits usually have this last characteristic.
- The bad habits can be replaced with good habits. Willpower and perseverance is required, but what is particular about habitual behavior is that due to perseverance the benefits begin to come true and the habit is reinforced.
- Once good habits are strengthened, the satisfaction system itself provides feedback.
- The good habits lead to a better and more comprehensive life. Personality formation and socialization are closely related to the formation of good habits.
As a gregarious and interdependent subject, the human being depends on a structure of social habits , which if he does not adopt for himself, he will not be able to adapt and live with the environment. And this is another point to consider: it happens that many habits are instilled by the social environment in which we operate.
Examples of habits
Good or healthy habits should be exemplified and differentiated from bad or unhealthy habits. To further touch on this issue, it is up to us to make some clarifications:
- The healthy habits are all behaviors that tend to optimize the health of individuals. It extends, of course, to consecutive actions that are not directly related to health; although they do help general well-being.
- The harmful habits are repeated behaviors that harm the welfare of people. Unfortunately, they are very common.
An adjusted list of healthy habits would look like this : perform daily physical activity, eat foods rich in natural fiber, not drink sodas but water, sleep between seven and eight hours a day and practice reading daily.
Now, the bad habits are as numerous as the good ones , namely: the consumption of alcoholic beverages and drugs, not doing any type of physical activity, putting off important activities, sleeping four to six hours a day, leaving projects unfinished, chewing food very little before swallowing it, neglecting personal hygiene, eating sugary and processed foods and smoking, among others.
Importance of habits
The formation of habits occurs from an early age and, as long as you have full awareness, it is possible to create new habits, even in advanced ages. The essential thing is that you have motivation and are willing to make an effort based on it.
The importance of habits is seen daily . Life itself depends on them. Habits such as repeated actions cause the mind to create neural connections and their automation allows to vacate brain activity for larger companies. In effect, habits make the human mind more efficient.
The connection between new habits and old habits
In the beginning, it is difficult to create these new connections (new habits) and the old habits that you want to discard tend to prevail. And it is that habits have another characteristic: many create a comfort zone from which people do not try to get out. The paradox is that bad habits also trigger this comfort zone.
A habit (good or bad) is conquered thanks to repetition . Once the behavior is automatic, the brain clears itself for other activities. For this reason, any activity that is carried out assiduously by the mind registers it and transforms it into a habit. The formation of habits requires perseverance and time.
The undoubted importance of habits for people
Habits are important to many life functions and are performed without the individual’s awareness. Thanks to habits, we do things without so much planning or spending our energy thinking about them. They allow you to have more free time to do other activities.
That free “space” left by habits is used to take humans to Mars , create non-polluting energy or a vaccine against a virus . What would be the human being if every time you have to ride a bike, fasten your pants or climb stairs, etc., you have to take a course?
On forming healthy habits
Good habits substantially improve the overall health of any person. They define the lifestyle and project the future of human beings, since they cover more than 40% of daily behaviors. That means that habits are not only part of our daily life, but of our life in general. Almost half of what we do is done with habits!
Each habit forms a whole . Therefore, permanent transformation is achieved through the construction of new healthy habits. In addition, once positive habits have been obtained, it is necessary to cultivate them. That is, you have to maintain them so that they are not blurred or changed by negative habits.
The need for commitment and discipline to achieve good habits
The formation of healthy habits speaks for itself of a high level of commitment towards themselves. This is something important: good habits are always a compromise. This commitment is personal and seeks to improve the individual.
A life rich in good habits describes a personality with excellent self-esteem . For example, punctuality forms solid interpersonal relationships, be they work or personal, because it is seen as respect and consideration. We can say similar things about as many habits as beneficial.
For health, there is nothing better than good eating habits (with balanced and natural diets), plus daily physical activity, lead to a better quality of life, better chances of overcoming diseases and, in general, generate personal satisfaction , a better physical appearance and emotional and mental support.
How to achieve habits that are always beneficial?
The key to adopting good habits over bad ones in an adult lies in their maturity to realize their importance to live better . The most immediate good of the conquest of a habit is that it nullifies the will and the obligation of its self-control.
When you think about the habit of dressing to go out, anyone realizes that it is an action that occurs automatically , it does not deserve to be discussed: yes or no?
What is considered is what is the most appropriate clothing. As is a habit, every time a person goes for a run they do not discuss whether to dress but what to wear and, surely, they will put on the clothes they usually wear. Habits take away mental effort, as well as paying attention to certain things. We free the attention and the intellect to dedicate it to something else.
The release of mental and emotional resources
It is important that people do not have to resort to self-control or the will to perform certain actions in favor of their health or work, for example. Good habits prevent a myriad of problems and ensure that you don’t need to resort to willpower and self-control. Therefore, they save people’s resources (mental and physical) in a significant way.
The qualitative aspect of the habit also implies that it is enduring. An adult person lives his life based on the sum of many habits acquired from an early age.
For example, it happens that brushing your teeth is a habit that comes from childhood , but others, such as diving, are acquired voluntarily and in a suitable context, you would need to live near the sea.
What if a habit cannot be consummated?
In the event that the habit cannot be consummated (the example of the diver is conducive) the person would enter a kind of stressful need. You will tend to create another habit that produces the same quality of reward. And that’s when negative habits can emerge: smoking, alcoholism, gambling, etc.
The good routines of daily life are and whenever individuals acquire new habits towards a more integrated life, reaffirm the values they believe in . Therefore, it is necessary for people to review themselves: to see what habits they have. The idea is that they filter the habits and only keep the beneficial ones.
Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.