A commentary by Nicole Cohen and Craig Weatherby (editor) in Food, Health and Eco News from Vital Choice
What is a habit?
Habits are tiny programs in our brains that run our lives. And those habits – the route you took to work, the evening cocktail, and the cuss word you dropped in front of a nun – have little to do with conscious intent. In fact, about 40 percent of your daily actions aren’t fully conscious decisions. They’re habits – things that your brain does automatically, whether you really decide to or not. Together these programs constitute a collection of behaviors that shape your physical, emotional, and financial health. The question is, can we reprogram our brains to yield healthier routines, and if so, how?
What a habit looks like
In his New York Times bestseller, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explores and dissects habits. As his exploration of recent research showed, a habit can be broken into three parts:
The cue signals us to perform a routine in order to get a reward. It’s a lot like asking your dog to sit. He’ll sit because he’s learned that if he performs the routine of putting his butt on the ground, he’ll get a rewarding treat.
How to change a bad habit
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The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by Health Canada or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. None of the information presented is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.