Whether you realise it or not, habits make up a large part of your daily routine. These are habits that you develop without even realising them. Every day, you do them the same way. Have you ever heard that forming or changing a habit takes 60 days? It isn’t the case. I used to believe that was true, but fresh research and a shift in my mentality convinced me that habits may be simple to build or break—if you grasp the science behind habit development and apply it while trying to change or build a habit.
Consider all of the habits you’ve developed without even realising it. Perhaps you always put your keys in the same pocket when you leave the house, or perhaps you have a morning routine that you follow every weekday.
You undoubtedly have hundreds of routines: how did you wind up with so many habits if they’re so difficult to form? If you understand the science behind habit formation, you’ll see that there are a few relatively basic things you can do to make habits easier to create and even alter.
Formation of habits
Habits are formed unknowingly for the most part, and they are carried out automatically by the majority of people. Habits enable us to do the hundreds of tasks we need and wish to complete in our lives. It frees up our thinking processes to work on other things because we can carry out a habit without having to think about it. . Our brains have devised a brilliant way to make us more efficient. Let’s look at the science behind habit formation. Pavlov was observing the amount of saliva produced by dogs during digesting. He first noted that dogs salivated when they saw food, even before tasting it. Then he observed that if the meal was associated with another event like a bell or the experimenter’s footsteps, the dog would eventually start salivating at simply the sound of the bell or footsteps. This is what is referred to as classical conditioning.
Let’s look at what we currently know about forming or modifying habits, using this original research as a guide.
- Small, specified activities have a higher chance of becoming habitual.
Let’s say you decide to start an exercise habit and tell yourself, “I’m going to get more exercise from now on.” Because it’s too broad and imprecise, because it’s too huge, this is unlikely to become a habit.
- Making the action simple improves the chances of it becoming a habit.
You want to make it easy to perform the modest, precise action after you’ve recognised it. In the case of exercise/walking, if you make it simple, you’ll be more likely to stick to the habit. Put your shoes and clothes near the door, for example, so you can see them when you get home.
- Physically active activities are simpler to “train” into a habit.
That’s simple with the walking/exercise example. You’re going to reach out and grab your workout clothing with your arm. If you want to start a habit that isn’t extremely physical—for example, a routine where you pause at the start of the workday and decide what the most essential things are for you to do that day—you’ll need to come up with a physical activity to undertake.
- Habits that include auditory and/or visual signals will be easier to establish and maintain.
The fact that your phone lights up when you get a message and makes a buzzing or chirping noises when you get a text is one of the reasons why you use it so often. These aural and visual signals pique our interest and raise our chances of developing a conditioned reaction.
The most effective approach to replace an established habit is to create a new one. Within seven days, you’ll have trained the walk-in door to respond differently. It’s worth a shot. Choose whether you want to start a new habit or change an existing one. Try out the new habit for a week and see how it goes. You might be shocked at how simple it is to form or break habits.