Here you’ll learn about habits, review multiple strategies for building good habits, and get some tips for how to break bad habits.
Habits have been described as repeated actions that arise from some kind of internal or external trigger (Robbins & Costa, 2017). Often, these habits exist in particular contexts. For example, Billy might have a habit of smoking a cigarette when he drinks alcohol. Sharon might have a habit of brushing her teeth before bed. And Mark might have a habit of biting his nails when he’s nervous.
Habits—both good and bad—are closely related to our goals. Since habits are just things we do regularly, they can contribute to —or deter us from—achieving the things we want to achieve. That’s why building good habits—and perhaps getting rid of some bad ones—is so important for building the lives we want to lead. So what are some good habits to build?
Habits of Highly Effective People
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is perhaps one of the most popular self-help books of all time. It suggests that there are 7 key habits that we should all strive to build. The habits are the key to being successful. According to the author, these are the the things we need to do:
More Ways To Build Good Habits
The book, Atomic Habits, suggests even more tips for building good habits. Here are a few:
Some Good Habits to Explore
Good habits tend to be good for the mind and body. Habits of the mind are what help us successfully engage in effective behaviors that lead to success over the long term (Costa & Kallick, 2009). Habits of the body can help keep us strong and healthy. Here are some examples:
Habits of the mind include:
Habits of the body include:
Beating Bad Habits
The good (and bad) thing about habits is that after repeatedly engaging in them, they become automatic. That makes it somewhat easier to build good habits, but also harder to break bad ones.
Learning how to break a habit like smoking, drinking, gambling, overeating, or overspending is likely more difficult than starting a new habit. It requires more than building new patterns of behavior—it requires understanding how your existing patterns of behavior benefit you and finding other ways to get those benefits. For example, maybe smoking helps us calm down or drinking helps us feel more social or binging on cookies feels good. So we have to ask ourselves, how do we get these positive outcomes without the habit?
To start, it can be helpful to:
Pamela (Pami) Parker currently serves as a holistic practitioner, coach and teacher. Her intention is to be a compassionate guide to those who choose to experience a healthier, happier and more peaceful way of life.