Difference between Habit and Behaviour

Press Play Button Below, Synchronize Reading & Listening "Habits Podcast" *An Audio Blog*

What is Habit?

Researchers show that our day-to-day is automated by our habits. From what we wear, to what we eat and most of our decision making is habit-driven. As a matter of fact, studies suggest that up to 45% of our daily behaviour is automatic. You can look at your morning routine as an example of a habit. Your morning routine would look like:

  • Wake up
  • Turn off the alarm button
  • Brush your teeth
  • Take a shower
  • Put on your clothes
  • Drink a cup of coffee
  • Eat your breakfast
  • Go to work

Now, how much of that routine do you consciously think about and how much is on auto-pilot? For example, how much do you think about when you are brushing your teeth? That’s not going in your head, you just brush your teeth. It just happens. It happens because it’s a habit. Let’s take another example to help you understand better about habit.

When was the last time you had to check the rear-view mirror when you back your car out of the garage?

Just in case of morning routine you didn’t think about it much, do you? But think back to when you were a kid and were looking to learn how to drive? You must be concentrated on every step while backing your car out of your garage. It’s just something you just do now habitually.

Why does it happen?

Because at first, driving was difficult and new. It was scary and you were nervous. Your brain was working on overdrive to make sure you followed all the steps you need to complete before you could successfully take your car out of the garage.

Habits are beneficial because they are automatic. We engage in habits without thinking, which frees our brain up to focus on other things. The same is true for bad habits. We engage in these behaviours without much consideration and they can destroy our personal lives and jobs without us being conscious of them.

What is Behaviour?

When one says about behaviour then it means the action of the system in coordination with its surroundings. The system of the organism around an individual affects the behaviour of a person. Behaviour is nothing but a response to different actions made by the system around that person. Behaviour can be of two kinds – good or bad.

There can be a lot to be proud of and nothing to be ashamed of. Your behaviour represents your character and character is what speaks about you. Great brains and good looks are not all that counts. Your behaviour will give you company on the road to success, so if good behaviour accompanies you, you will have smooth sailing in your journey.

Behaviour is the reaction of the system on the changes around it but a habit is a thing a person does repeatedly until it becomes a routine. This is the key difference between these two. There are times when habits tend to become compulsory. When it comes to behaviours, this is actually triggered by the nervous system, which means if the nervous system has a big impact on a person’s behaviour.

Another difference is that habit cannot be a behaviour, as a habit is subconsciously repeated and is not intended sometimes, unlike behaviour which is a reaction to the outside pressures. The other difference between them is that behaviour is done consciously while habit is done unconsciously. Behaviours are outputs of a person towards the situation, while habits are the input of the situation on certain individuals.

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Dr Purushothaman (LivingInWellbeing)