What is a Habit?
This month we’re helping you to set new Healthy Habits. A habit is more than something you try to do every now and then- habits are part of our routine, and many of us do them without even thinking about it. Examples of good habits are exercising regularly, going to bed early or drinking lots of water. Habits that we might want to change are smoking, drinking, staying up late or biting your nails.
According to research, habits are formed in three steps. First, there’s a cue that tells your brain to automatically do the behavior- for example, when you feel nervous you might bite your nails. Next, there’s the behavior itself, like biting your nails, smoking, exercising. Finally, there’s the reward- you brain is likely to repeat the behaviour when it likes the reward. After exercising you might feel a sense of achievement or feel yourself getting fitter. This ‘habit loop’ is how habits are formed and stick.
To break your habits, it’s important to understand how to interrupt the loop and reform it with your new healthy habit. Studies show it’s never too late to break a habit, and they can be changed all throughout our lives. Start by recognising what you want to get out of your new habit and why it’s beneficial to you, then set up specific cues for putting it in your routine. We’ll be posting more about how to form a new habit soon, so keep an eye out!
Healthy Habit Highlight
Josh in Calderdale has been working towards losing weight, and now goes to rugby twice a week. He was even awarded man of the match a couple of times!
Linda in London joined a disability swim club last year and attends once a month.
“I wanted to go out more and improve my muscles,” said Linda. “It makes me feel calm and good. It’s been great.”
If you’ve started a new habit, let us know by emailing email@example.com!