Daily Archives: January 6, 2015

[Br]eaking [Ba]d [H]abits


You see what I did there? I know, I’m crafty.

On a more serious note, let’s discuss bad habits and how to avoid them. Since habits are difficult to break, it’s best not to pick up a bad habit in the first place. However, we’re human and thus not perfect, so bad habits tend to rear their ugly heads every now and again.

To help understand the nature of habits a little bit better, I’ve got some helpful tidbits of information that may help to break the bad habits and replace them with good ones.

  • Repetition is necessary to create any type of habit, good or bad, but there is not necessarily a set timeline for the time it takes for the habit to become concrete. However, consistency is key, so if you do miss a day of exercising, don’t lose hope; instead, make sure to get back into your routine the following day.
  • Mental activity tends to decrease once the formation of a habit is solidified, meaning that when you’re performing the repetitive habit, you may not even be thinking about what you are doing. Essentially, it becomes second nature.
  • It is much easier to create a habit than to break a habit. Once the neutral pathways in your brain form in order to create new information, or a new habit, they remain intact for years. This is why it is so easy to return to bad habits, even if there had been a significant amount of time passed.
  • Some habits you pickup may stem from an entirely unrelated desire, so it helps to dissect your habits and see their origin, addressing them from there. For instance, if you are a midday snack muncher, you may not snack because you are actually hungry, but because you are in need of a break from work. Snacking gives you an excuse to move around and stretch, giving your brain a necessary break.

Routines become significantly harder to change once they are ingrained into you, so it best to not let bad habits get their claws in you. If you do find yourself needing to break a bad habit, try filling the void with a good habit, giving your mind and body something else to focus on. A study at Duke University estimated that habit (as opposed to conscious decision-making) shapes 45% of the choices we make daily, thus showing that habits are not something to be taken lightly.