We tend to repeat what we like. We eat sweets, scroll through social networks, do sports, play Book of Dead free spins no deposit, and read interesting articles. All these are habits: “good” ones kind of help us, and “bad” ones kind of hinder us.
But why is it so hard to start the first ones and so hard to get rid of the second ones? How do you even realize that it’s time to act? And what to replace bad habits? Let’s find out.
What Is a Habit Cycle?
To get rid of a habit, you need to analyze it. All habits are cyclical, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s reading books on the subway or taking an afternoon smoke break. The cycle consists of three components:
Trigger + routine (repetitive action) + reward
Here’s an example: the habit of brushing your teeth in the morning. Its cycle:
- Trigger: turning on the water.
- Routine: brushing your teeth.
- Reward: feeling clean.
This cycle was repeated many thousands of times and always had a positive result. Each time, a special hormone, dopamine, was produced in response, giving a sense of satisfaction. Success led to strong neural connections in the brain, so that we brush our teeth on “autopilot”.
How to Quit Bad Habits so They Don’t Return
Bad habits tend to be firm — they’re often repeated and give us dopamine fast. And when we abruptly change a habitual behavior, the brain sees it as a threat and wants to return to what’s familiar.
If we eat chips every night, and at some point we stop doing it, we find it stressful. When we suddenly start running laps around the stadium in the morning instead of our usual restful sleep, it shocks the neurons and they try with redoubled vigor to stop the “torment”. It’s because of this that promises to start something “starting Monday” and starting in the “new year” almost never work.
It turns out that it’s necessary to remove habits carefully, without “sacrifices”. It’s worth gradually replacing some actions with others. The main thing is not to act under the slogan “all or nothing”, not to throw yourself into extremes. Then there will be no backsliding and the desire to give up everything as soon as possible.
Top 5 Habit-Forming Apps to Transform Your Life
These apps can assist you in becoming the best version of yourself.
HabitBull lets you track up to 100 habits, offering detailed statistics and streak counters. Its strength lies in its visual representation, motivating you to stay on track.
With a clean interface, Streaks allows you to track up to 12 habits. It integrates seamlessly with Apple Health, helping you reach your health and fitness goals.
Loop — Habit Tracker
Loop offers an intuitive interface with flexible scheduling and insightful graphs.
Turn habit formation into an RPG game. Earn rewards for completing habits and face penalties for neglecting them.
Apart from habit tracking, Coach.me offers personal coaching and community support to ensure you stay on track.
How to Replace Some Habits With Others
Replacing bad habits with good ones is like training neurons. And what’s the most important thing in training? Reward. The brain is interested in the dopamine itself, not the way it gets it. So its more profitable not to forbid, but to achieve the desired effect by healthy methods.
If your hand reaches for a cigarette when you’re stressed, “just don’t smoke” is a bad option. Instead, you need to think of ways to deal with stress without harming your health. For example, try 1-minute meditation, which takes almost no time at all, but calms you down better than nicotine.
Of course, at first you will have to persuade yourself or even insist on meditation instead of a smoke break, because it gives not an instant, but a slightly delayed effect. But in the end, the exercise will reduce stress — which is what was originally required. It’s just that the path was different. By repeating it and getting the dopamine we need, we’ll cement a new, useful habit.