Healthy Habits

Healthy, Helpful Habits

When the Old Habit Remains

Habits are formed naturally and we may not even notice exactly when that new habit was formed. Healthy, helpful habits can be formed just as easily as unhealthy or unhelpful ones. We may develop a new habit or continue performing an existing one by simply desiring to do so. That desire is an outcome of recognising that the new (or existing) habit serves some positive purpose. An example of this may be a teenager who decides to try smoking and then continues smoking because it is cool, friends do it or they like the sensation of smoking. As can be seen from this example, not all habits are purely good or bad. However, for a habit to be formed, the positives will outweigh the negatives.

We can also stop engaging in a particular habit with equal ease. We might do so because the habit no longer serves a positive purpose or its discontinuance may serve a positive purpose. We have all seen smokers who have just decided to quit smoking and do exactly that.

Whenever we consciously decide to take on a new habit, it can be helpful to consider where best to place that habit in our existing routine. By hooking it onto our routine, we are more likely to remember to do the habit. And, before we know it, the new habit has become part of our daily routine.

Similarly, when we consciously decide to drop an existing habit, it can be helpful to consider the positive benefits we used to get from doing the habit-to-be-discontinued. It can also be helpful to consider what had been intertwined with the habit-to-be-discontinued. We can then consider more helpful, healthful alternatives to draw upon that still deliver those same positive benefits each occasion where the habit-to-be-discontinued had been typically done. In so doing, we are effectively hooking the more helpful, healthful alternatives onto our existing routine (in place of the habit-to-be-discontinued).

So, if you don't like a habit, it is just a matter of deciding on a more healthy, helpful habit, hooking it onto an existing routine and then doing the new habit.

More Information?

If you would like to know more about this topic, feel free to email Dr. Rachel Abramson or bookmark this page so you can return to it in future.

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