What Are Habits, and Why Are They Useful?
What are habits, and why are they useful?
Why this article?
Because it is very important to understand habits and see how much they can positively or negatively influence our life.
For me, changing some of my habits was a game-changer. It improved how I feel, what I do, and what I get as a result and created a completely new picture of what I am capable of.
So If you are interested in learning how to improve all of your life aspects and get amazing results, keep reading.
You should know that changing habits is a very difficult process. Because of that, many people give up right from the beginning, and they stop even trying to change something in their lives. But changing habits is not impossible.
That’s why I want to give you my understanding and experience of habits today and help you create positive changes in your life.
Have you heard the phrase “We are creatures of habit?”
Most things we do in a day are habitual.
Habits are behaviors we repeat each day.
When we first wake up in the morning, we go to the bathroom, brush our teeth, and take a shower. Then we dress, and we prepare coffee or breakfast in a similar way every day.
We travel to work or work from home doing the same little rituals.
We all have habits, and our brains love that sense of familiarity. That’s why it’s not difficult for us to stay committed to practice once we adopt it.
Some of the habits we own are useful. They help us do beneficial activities for us without wasting too much energy.
Some people love to exercise each morning, and they do it consistently because it’s their habit. In the beginning, maybe they struggled with discipline issues, but after repeating this behavior enough times, it became a habit.
This habit is very useful and creates many benefits for these people. They invest in their health, are happy with how they look and are energized every day because of exercising.
And because it’s a habit, they do it automatically. Not spending one-second thinking should they skip the training today.
People who haven’t made exercising a habit struggle with discipline each day, planning to start on Monday, calculating time, thinking they are tired, etc.
There are also unuseful habits that harm us in the long term.
Spending hours on social media, watching Netflix all night, reading tweets instead of books. Even the things we say are habitual. People complain out of habit. They tend to talk about limitations instead of possibilities out of habit. People gossip about other people instead of talking about their own ideas out of habit.
Thinking is habitual. Some people are used to thinking negative thoughts. Others are used to thinking positively.
Smoking, eating, or drinking, not because our body needs that at the moment but because we are bored and need to distract ourselves.
What habits are unuseful? Those who bring terrible results.
*Spending hours watching tv shows, scrolling on social media, spending hours with people in useless gossip of others – brings terrible consequences of not making better use of your time. As a result, you miss opportunities to learn, educate about new skills, and develop your ideas (which will show up only if you turn to yourself and pay attention to your interests). You are setting yourself up for failure with this behavior, and you will miss many opportunities. Guess how big the chances of anxiety are in the long run when you realize that it’s too late to fix the consequences of this behavior?
*Too much eating, drinking, smoking – brings terrible consequences on your health, self-confidence, and self-worth.
*The habit of small resistance – not communicating, thinking “this will go away, I can’t deal with this right now” – brings terrible consequences manifested in stress, fights with partner or closest people, breakups/divorces.
Many people are aware of their unuseful habits, and they falsely think they can’t do anything to change them.
But the best possible news is: We can divorce every unuseful habit and adopt a new one that will serve us.
This is where we get to the part that habits are connected to beliefs.
Habits are the behavior, and beliefs are what drive our behavior.
It’s hard for us to make a habit out of exercising if we believe that we have low discipline. Or if we believe we can’t achieve the result we want.
It’s hard for us to implement useful habits in our free time, like reading or taking a course, if we believe that there is no way we can achieve bigger success than this one. So instead, let’s watch 4 hours of tv shows all night.
This is very important for all people of all ages.
The structure of habits is a trigger (mainly a feeling), a behavior, and a reward.
Hearing a beep from your phone is a trigger. The behavior is reading the message. The reward is your curiosity is satisfied.
A trigger is feeling stressed, a behavior is scrolling on social media, a reward is a distraction, and not having to deal with the stress immediately.
A trigger is feeling bored. Behavior is going to the fridge and taking a snack (although you are not hungry). The reward is you feel full and satisfied, even if it’s a short-term pleasure.
A trigger is a shiny and sparkly commercial offering a product/service that promises you great fun and a delicious experience. A behavior is making a purchase. The reward is the feeling that now you possess something cool.
And so on.
Having habits is not wrong. It’s how we operate, and even children of the youngest age have habits and rituals.
Spotting negative habits and replacing them with useful ones is possible and brings great benefits. People who adopt useful habits have more free time and are healthier. They feel fulfilled and accomplished and have clarity.
There is a way to recognize which habits are serving you and which ones are not doing that. In the next article, we will talk about how to form a new habit.