The Science of Habit: Popular Habits vs. Popular Addictions [Infographic]
Fifty percent of your everyday life is habitual. It’s not something that we like to think about, but it’s true: about half of the time that we spend awake, we are on autopilot, mindlessly reiterating the same actions and the same thoughts in the same context. There is a defined pattern that we follow when forming these habits. It starts with a cue; at noon your stomach growls. Then you mindlessly follow through with your routine; you walk to the cafeteria, you buy a cookie. Our habits offer a reward, which is why they’re so difficult to break; you bite into that sugary cookie, and it’s delicious. But what if you want to break that bad habit? If you are in control, it is possible to break out of this loop.
If you are unsuccessful at breaking this loop, sometimes that bad habit can cross the boundary into becoming an addiction. There are five steps to forming an addiction. First, the behavior is simply recreational; then you perform it within moderation; then it becomes habitual (you’re stuck in the loop); then it becomes compulsory; then addictive. To prevent a habit from developing into an addiction, first figure out why you do it. Then, write it down and analyze what triggers the habit. Finally, find a new way to respond to the trigger, and replace the addictive behavior with something healthier.
Although habits and addictions are complicated, we’ve tried to break them down in this infographic. Check it out to see some of the most common habits and addictions, learn the average number of days it takes to form a habit, and see how you can learn to identify and break your bad habits.
Please help us spread the word about defeating your bad habits before they become addictions by sharing this infographic with your friends, families, and readers. You can embed the graphic using the code in the box below, or click the social icons to share to Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere. Thank you!
We all have bad habits. Maybe you bite your nails, or maybe you waste too much time watching television or frequently snack on high-sugar foods. But don’t get discouraged by your bad habits. Instead, think about ways you can overcome them.
By using these techniques for breaking bad habits, you can move past this problem area. These methods of breaking bad habits can also work for a person in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction who is working to change their behavior.
Tell Other People About Your Quest
Some people think breaking a bad habit will be hard enough without broadcasting it to the world. But telling others can have three beneficial effects:
- It keeps you accountable.
- It keeps you focused.
- It encourages others to help you.
For example, if you posted on Facebook that you’re trying to stop cracking your knuckles, you’re more likely to stop yourself before cracking them in front of your friends. If a friend notices you cracking, she may gently remind you of your goal, which will help you refocus.2
Use a Substitute
There’s nothing wrong with trying to trick your mind as you break a bad habit. If you bite your nails, you want to find a way to occupy your mouth so you’re not tempted to stick your fingers in it. Why not chew gum instead, which will prevent you from using your mouth in other ways?
You may have to think hard to come up with a substitute for a lot of habits, but this way of distracting yourself can be beneficial no matter what habit you’re trying to end.
Meditation can sound a bit intimidating, but it’s actually a great way to find the single-mindedness to achieve your goal. The aim of meditation is to relax your mind, and from that relaxed mind comes focus and energy. These are two vital parts of fighting any bad habit.
Take a Look Around You
If you’re trying to give up snacking, you probably won’t succeed if your cabinets are stocked with chips and cookies. Your environment will impact your success, for better or worse. If you struggle with addiction, this may mean staying out of certain environments, such as bars or clubs. If you’re struggling with other bad habits, it could mean removing any form of temptation in the home.
Envision Your Success
Positive imagery can go a long way toward success. Imagine yourself overcoming your bad habit. Think about not just how great it’ll feel not to do it anymore but the relief that will flood your body when you realize you don’t have to worry about breaking the habit anymore. Talk to yourself using positive, affirming language to help convince yourself that you can overcome it, even though it’s hard.
Break Bad Habits and Find Recovery
These tips on breaking bad habits may be helpful on your journey to sobriety. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, contact 12 Keys Rehab today.