Debunking Habit Myths: The Science of Lasting Change - Deepstash
Debunking Habit Myths: The Science of Lasting Change

Debunking Habit Myths: The Science of Lasting Change

Curated from: neurosciencenews.com

Ideas, facts & insights covering these topics:

8 ideas

·

525 reads

4

Explore the World's Best Ideas

Join today and uncover 100+ curated journeys from 50+ topics. Unlock access to our mobile app with extensive features.

Habits: Key Facts

  1. Habits are mental links between cues and responses.
  2. Competing impulses can override habitual behavior.
  3. Backup plans are crucial for maintaining new behaviors and breaking bad habits.

6

104 reads

Habit Does Not Equal Lasting Change

Pop psychology tends to portray all stable behaviours as habitual, as well as implying that forming new habits will always lead to positive long-term change. 

New analysis by Surrey researchers argues that a habit is simply a mental link between a situation (cue) and an action (response). When someone with a habit is in the situation, an unconscious urge prompts the action. However, whether this urge leads to habitual behaviour depends on other competing impulses that influence our actions. 

6

82 reads

Impulses Are Like Babies

Forming a habit means connecting a situation we often encounter with the action we usually take. These connections help by creating impulses that push us to do the usual action without thinking. But the pushes from habits are just one of many feelings we might have at any time. 

Impulses are like babies, each crying for our attention. We can only tend to one at a time. These impulses come from various sources – intentions, plans, emotions, and habits. We act according to whichever impulse demands our attention by crying the loudest at any given moment. 

6

68 reads

Habit Impulses Usually Cry The Loudest

Habit impulses usually cry the loudest, guiding us to do what we normally do, even when other impulses are vying for our attention.

However, there are times when other impulses cry louder.

6

63 reads

Just A Single Disruption

Think of someone who has developed a habit of eating a healthy breakfast every morning. One day, they wake up late, leave the house without having time for breakfast, and then grab a sugary snack on their commute. 

This single disruption can make them feel like they’ve failed, potentially leading them to abandon the healthy eating habit altogether.

7

55 reads

Just A Backup Plan

When trying to make a new behaviour stick, it’s a good idea to form a habit and have a backup plan for dealing with setbacks, such as keeping healthy snacks on hand that you can quickly grab on busy mornings.

6

51 reads

Breaking Bad Habits

As for breaking bad habits, the Surrey researchers suggest several methods. 

There are multiple ways to stop ourselves from acting on our habits. Imagine you want to stop snacking in front of the TV. One way is to avoid the trigger – don’t switch on the set. Another is to make it harder to act impulsively – not keeping snacks at home. Or, you could stop yourself when you feel the urge

While the underlying habit may remain, these strategies reduce the chances of ‘bad’ behaviours from occurring automatically.

7

50 reads

If You Can’t Avoid, Swap

In principle, if you can’t avoid your habit cues or make the behaviour more difficult, swapping out a bad habit for a good one is the next best strategy.

It’s much easier to do something than nothing, and as long as you’re consistent, the new behaviour should become dominant over time, overpowering any impulses arising from your old habit.

7

52 reads

IDEAS CURATED BY

xarikleia

“An idea is something that won’t work unless you do.” - Thomas A. Edison

CURATOR'S NOTE

Researchers debunk myths about habits, showing they are mental links between situations and actions. Habits compete with other impulses, like intentions and emotions, to influence behavior.

Read & Learn

20x Faster

without
deepstash

with
deepstash

with

deepstash

Personalized microlearning

100+ Learning Journeys

Access to 200,000+ ideas

Access to the mobile app

Unlimited idea saving

Unlimited history

Unlimited listening to ideas

Downloading & offline access

Supercharge your mind with one idea per day

Enter your email and spend 1 minute every day to learn something new.

Email

I agree to receive email updates