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Formation of habits and how to control them

Habits are actions and actions, the fulfillment of which has become a human need. They are also behaviors — the same actions repeated under similar conditions. If actions, actions and behavior are repeated many times, the person develops certain skills or tendencies.

Habit is something we do without any intention. Habit is an action that we will ever try to do and it makes us feel good. Then we deliberately repeat them over and over again, then these actions will become our habit, and we do them automatically every day. And if we didn't like it, we wouldn't repeat them. That is, habits will be formed if it is supported by positive emotions. And the habits themselves can be harmful and useful. Many people know that habits such as waking up early in the morning, doing physical exercise, eating right are useful habits and strengthen our health. Bad habits will harm our health, such as Smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, not following the sleep regime, and so on. But habits not only affect our health, many habits will affect a person's state of mind. Healthy habits strengthen health, and harmful ones worsen it.

Habit is the result of repetitions.

A habit is something that we do without any intention. A habit is an action that we will ever try to do and it makes us feel good. Then we deliberately repeat them again and again, then these actions will become our habit, and we do them automatically every day. And if we didn't like it, we wouldn't repeat them. That is, habits will form if they are reinforced by positive emotions. And the habits themselves are bad and useful. Many people know that such habits as: waking up early in the morning, doing physical exercises, eating right are useful habits and strengthens our health. Bad habits will harm our health, such as smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, not following the sleep regime, and so on. But, habits not only affect our health, many habits will affect the state of mind, and life in general.

The difference between good and bad habits.

In the life and activities of people, habits are of great importance. Habits are actions that consist in the behavior of a person and have become his needs. Satisfaction of needs is associated with a sense of pleasure, and dissatisfaction entails pleasant experiences. Therefore, the performance of habitual actions causes us positive emotions, and the inability to do what we are used to, is accompanied by unpleasant feelings.

We may even say that our whole life consists of habits. The way we learn a new field of activity, a new field of knowledge, the way we talk to other people, and how we perceive them, the way we react to life circumstances, solve the difficulties that have arisen in life, and, in the end, the way we eat. All this is the result of ingrained habits in us. You can even say even more, the circumstances that arise in our lives are the result of our habits.

The difference between bad habits and useful ones is only that bad habits arise without any effort on our part, while useful habits do not arise by themselves, unless they were instilled from childhood by wise parents.

Habits will be formed if they are supported by positive emotions.

Our parents teach us good habits as children. In this case, we do not need to spend energy and strength to form these good habits. But when we become adults and mature ourselves, we want to have a lot of good habits and get rid of bad habits. After all, having good habits is closely linked to a good life. Bad habits will form quickly and without any effort, because they do not require brain work. And useful habits will get everyday work on yourself. They take time and effort. We must try to ensure that the formation of good habits is accompanied only by positive emotions. To do this, we do not need to overdo it, we can start with easy habits, but it is very important to repeat them every day. We also need to like this process. For example, if we want to add sports to our life and do a workout, then we should start with light exercises. Each person has different preferences, so you can train outside, plug in music, or in gyms. We will have a desire to do something new if we receive a reward after it, so do not forget to reward yourself for your success.

Journalist of the New York Times Tara Parker-Pope advises “Reward yourself. Rewards are an important part of habit formation. When we brush our teeth, the reward is immediate — a minty fresh mouth. But some rewards — like weight loss or the physical changes from exercise — take longer to show up. That’s why it helps to build in some immediate rewards to help you form the habit. Listening to audiobooks while running, for example, or watching a favorite cooking show on the treadmill can help reinforce an exercise habit. Or plan an exercise date so the reward is time with a friend.”.

A person can control their habits and form any habits.

You can form almost any habit: we gradually get used to everything. But it takes different time frames for people to form different habits. Some kind of habit can be formed as early as the third day. For example: if you watched TV a couple of times while eating, and when you sit down at the table for the third time, your hand will reach for the remote control itself: this will develop a conditioned reflex.

Bad habits people acquire faster than useful ones, and it is very difficult to get rid of them, for this you have to put a lot of effort. Scientists have proven that it takes several months or years for a person to get used to useful habits, but weeks will be enough for harmful ones. For this purpose, a special study was conducted. It was necessary to drink a glass of fresh juice every morning and run. Some did only part of the task, others did it not constantly, but after a few days. Everyone got used to it only after four months. 

How to get rid of bad habits?

Psychologists say that you can't get rid of a habit - it can be changed or replaced. This does not apply to habits that are positive, but only to those that really prevent us from living. 

That is, it is impossible to simply get rid of bad habits, we must replace them with another habit or change it. For example, some people have a habit of buying and storing unnecessary things. In my opinion, this is a bad habit. They can spontaneously buy unnecessary things that they never use and so they waste money. And it is also not worth storing unnecessary things, because they take up space and store old energy. For people, this action can become a habit, and every time they do not want to get rid of unnecessary things, and every time they enter the store, they come out with unnecessary things. You need to get rid of this habit gradually. In order not to buy unnecessary things, you can prepare a list of things in advance, and count on money only for them, or you can replace it by buying things to close people by making a gift. A person can collect interesting and necessary things and gradually throw unnecessary items.

Instead of an old bad habit, we need to choose one that will become our faithful companion for the rest of our lives, and that we will not have to painfully part with later.

Charles Duhigg explains that: “A few decades ago, many people didn’t drink water outside of a meal. Then beverage companies started bottling the production of far-off springs, and now office workers unthinkingly sip bottled water all day long. Chewing gum, once bought primarily by adolescent boys, is now featured in commercials as a breath freshener and teeth cleanser for use after a meal. Skin moisturizers  which are effective even if applied at high noon  are advertised as part of morning beauty rituals, slipped in between hair brushing and putting on makeup. ”

The right habits will make you happy and successful, and bad habits prevent a person from successfully realizing himself as a person.

In fact, habits can determine whether a person will be successful and live the life they want. If habits play a big role in achieving success and happiness, you should pay attention to your habits, because all people want to be happy. A person can be judged by habit, and understand what kind of person he is. For example, some people may have a habit of being late. This habit they acquire in childhood, that is, school times. At school, this may not seem like a problem. But after entering the university, he is also late for classes, so he will lose points and get a non-top grade. You might think that this is just points and does not decide fate. However, being late for an important meeting, he shows his incompetence and people may perceive his actions differently. And if we consider the opposite situation, we will see a big difference. This person would have a good reputation and many opportunities. Thus, we realize the importance of habits in a person's life.

Wander Jager explains: “In many situations where it would be beneficial to change existing behaviour one is being confronted with the challenge to change existing habits. The strength of the habit here is an important determinant. The more frequent a habit is being performed, the more automated the choice process often will be. Hence the (yearly) habit to visit a certain holiday destination may be weaker than the (daily) habit of drinking coffee. As a consequence, many scholars define habits as behaviour that is being performed often (daily) in stable contexts.”

Habits are fixed, as a rule, by life stereotypes and social foundations. Many habits are built into us from childhood and turn into reflexes. Our habits are also influenced by people in our environment. Most of the habits are instilled by our parents. Our habits shape our character and Outlook. And if there are any changes in life, we have to break our habits and established way of life. If everything is stable, calm and even, then we see no reason to change our habits. So-called bad habits sometimes live in us as parasites. We behave as we are used to, and sometimes we do not even realize how much our habits spoil our lives and affect our feelings, thoughts and relationships with our loved ones. 

Habits are of great importance for the formation of the moral image of a person, since, once established, they will already contribute to the appearance of certain character traits in him. Habits are diverse. Distinguish professional habits associated with the type of work that a person is engaged in. For example, a doctor is used to paying attention to how a person looks, whether they are healthy or ill, and so on. There are moral habits (to be honest, truthful), hygienic, aesthetic, educational, cultural behavior habits, and others. A very important place among habits is occupied by the habit of work. This habit should be cultivated from an early age and especially at school age. If the developed skills are useful or indifferent, then the habits are also harmful. Useful or positive habits include, for example, the habit of focused work, cleanliness, politeness, and attentive attitude to people. Harmful or negative habits can be called habits of idleness, rudeness, Smoking. Useful habits help people a lot. On the contrary, a person who has a lot of negative habits has to constantly fight them, and sometimes becomes a slave to their bad habits.

It is necessary to understand that the whole set of actions, abilities, skills and habits of a person is included in his character. Therefore, every person should try to acquire useful habits. For their acquisition, it is necessary, perhaps, to repeat more often those useful actions that need to be made habitual, and to get rid of a bad habit, it is necessary not to repeat the corresponding actions. Because repeated performance of the same act leads to the formation of a habit to act in such conditions in exactly the same way, and not otherwise.


1. Jager, W. (2003) Breaking ’bad habits’: a dynamical perspective on habit formation and change. in: L. Hendrickx, W. Jager, L. Steg;

2. Tara Parker-Pope. How to Build Healthy Habits. Feb. 18, 2020;

4. Charles Duhigg. Warning: Habits May Be Good for You. July 13, 2008;

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