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Table of Contents
English presentation on habits
Reading practice on habits
What Are Habits?
Let’s define habits. Habits are the small decisions you make and actions you perform every day. According to researchers at Duke University, habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors on any given day.
Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits. How in shape or out of shape you are? A result of your habits. How happy or unhappy you are? A result of your habits. How successful or unsuccessful you are? A result of your habits.
What you repeatedly do (i.e. what you spend time thinking about and doing each day) ultimately forms the person you are, the things you believe, and the personality that you portray. Everything I write about – from procrastination and productivity to strength and nutrition – starts with better habits. When you learn to transform your habits, you can transform your life.
Definition of habit
The American Journal of Psychology (1903) defined a “habit, from the standpoint of psychology, a more or less fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience.” Habitual behavior often goes unnoticed in persons exhibiting it, because a person does not need to engage in self-analysis when undertaking routine tasks. Habits are sometimes compulsory. A 2002 daily experience study by habit researcher Wendy Wood and her colleagues found that approximately 43% of daily behaviors are performed out of habit. New behaviors can become automatic through the process of habit formation. Old habits are hard to break and new habits are hard to form because the behavioural patterns which humans repeat become imprinted in neural pathways, but it is possible to form new habits through repetition.
Why we need habits
Habits help us manage our minds. Habits save us brain power – or rather free up our brains to do exciting creative thinking.
Making habits out of the things we do repeatedly, our behaviours and actions – provides our brain with a power saving or effort saving mechanism. An automatic response requires less creativity and complexity of thinking from us.
Gretchen Rubin in her book “Better than before” sums it up nicely:
“When possible, the brain makes a behavior into a habit, which saves effort and therefore gives us more capacity to deal with complex, novel, or urgent matters.”
People develop countless habits as they navigate the world, whether they are aware of them or not. The knee-jerk nature of these behaviors can help people get their needs met more efficiently in everyday life. Yet the fact that habits become deeply ingrained in our brains means that even if a particular habit creates more problems than it solves, it can be difficult to break. Understanding how habits take shape to begin with may be helpful in dismantling and replacing them.