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People are different, as are their habits. Although we have to change our behavior or habit, one rule does not apply to everyone. Identifying and changing lifestyles varies from person to person. When we talk about certain habits, we must understand that giving up one habit does not require the same amount of energy as another. For example, quitting is not exactly the same thing as overcoming the habit of overeating. Likewise, changing your communication with your partner and working on it differs from prioritizing your work tasks. Moreover, the habits of each person are motivated by different desires. When we do something that generates a pleasure or a reward, we feel inclined to do it again. Repeating this operation again and again creates a new habit. Many habits are not created by us, but by our circumstances and the contributions of others. However, we can consciously conceive and maintain habits. That’s what character development and personality care are all about.

Most of the choices we make every day may seem like products of thoughtful decision-making, but they are not. These are habits. The cycle of habits is present at the heart of every habit and also explains why habits exist and how they work. The usual cycle consists of three basic steps. First, there is a signal, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode. The signals are of two types: internal or external signals. The internal signal could be any feeling like sadness, happiness or thought. While the external signal includes any factor external to your body, such as time, place, person or any event, such as any celebration, birthday party or new year, etc. The second part of the usual cycle is the routine, the behavior that leads to the reward. The routine can be physical (eating a hamburger), cognitive (“to remember for the exam”) or emotional (“I always feel anxious in mathematics class”). The third part is the reward, it can be in any way, such as having tangible or physical things, like chocolate or a favorite food, cognitively, like having positive thoughts or developing an interest or emotionally, like feeling happy or relaxing. The reward is a real determinant of the cycle of the habit and if the reward is not strong enough that the cycle of the habit is not repeated and the habit does not develop.

The rewards are powerful because they satisfy the desires. But often, we are not aware of the desires that drive our behavior. Different rewards could help us understand what is the particular habit of each particular desire. This may take time, but it is worth trying to get better results longer. Be a scientist and experiment with yourself. When attempting different rewards, consider this a step in the data collection that will ultimately lead to real change. People who drink alcohol constantly repeat this action so as not to get drunk, but they like the reward, such as the relief of work stress, the reduction of anxiety, the increase of self-confidence and the decrease of their social anxiety, etc. These are stronger rewards and, therefore, their habit of the loop was more likely to be repeated.

Habits are stored in the small region of the brain, known as basal ganglia, and are found at the base of the forebrain. Scientists have revealed that when behavior becomes habitual, mental activity in this part of the brain has begun to shrink. When the habit arises, the brain consumes less energy and therefore becomes more efficient at accomplishing this task, as neuropathies become clearer and more automatic. This emphasizes that understanding how habits work or understanding the cycle of habits makes them easier to control. By changing the signal or reward in a typical cycle, you can change the behavior. The habit could not last, only according to the signal and the reward. Instead, it is necessary to activate a routine and this routine must develop the desire to have this reward. When the brain began to anticipate the reward or began to want a reward, it was only then that the models began to become automatic and, as a result, the habit continued.

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