How Do Habits Form?
Habits form within 21 days.
If you follow a specific habit like jogging, eating healthy or exercising for 21 days chances are it will be established. That is how a habit develops. The 21-day period is derived from a self-help book written in 1960 by a cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Maxwell Maltz, and the title of his book is “Psycho Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life”.
Then there is the 21/90 rule. Take a goal whether it is personal, spiritual, or financial and follow it daily for 21 days. After three weeks it will no longer be a goal but a habit. Then you continue the habit for ninety days and you have established a permanent lifestyle change.
What Types Of Habits Are There?
There are basically four types of habits.
- Instigating Habits – Life processes we create to assist us in life
- Regimental Habits – To do the same thing at the same time intervals without change.
- Avoiding Habits – Habits that we want to change or try to change.
- Unconscious Habits – The ones we are not aware of but that exist.
The 3 Stages Of A Habit Loop
This was introduced by Charles Duhigg.
There are three stages of a habit: The Cue, Routine and Reward.
- Trigger/cue – Feeling or emotion or craving – Tiredness or withdrawal
- Behaviour/Routine – Drinking coffee or smoking a cigarette
- Reward – Feeling more energetic.
The 4 Stages Of Habit
According to the New York Times bestselling book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear with special recognition to Charles Duhigg and Nir Eyal, the four stages in a Habit Loop are:
- Cue – It triggers your brain to start a behaviour.
- Craving – The second step of the habit loop which is the motivation or desire. Cravings are linked to desires to change your state.
- Response – This is the actual habit you perform through thought or action.
- Reward – The end goal of each habit.
So, the CUE triggers the CRAVING that motivates the RESPONSE that provides a REWARD. End of the loop, only to start again.
We all have bad habits that we know are not good for us, yet we keep on feeding it.
Compulsive behaviour such as OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is where the same act is done repetitively without leading to a real reward. People with severe OCD however need to consult their Therapist as it could be combined with a mental health disorder. Minor OCD are much more common than we think.