“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle / Will Durant

Defined broadly, a habit is a behavior that one performs regularly. Habit behaviors happen automatically, revolving around a learned association between a cue and a response. Habitual behaviors are associated with lesser awareness, reduced stress, and a greater feeling of control. In the early 20th century, habits were considered “a more or less fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience.” However, we now know that habits are not fixed – with the right tools, we can change our habits to better suit our goals.

References
  1. Merriam-Webster
  2. Cambridge Dictionaries
  3. Psychology Today
  4. Collins Dictionary
  5. Orbell, Sheina, and Bas Verplanken. “The automatic component of habit in health behavior: habit as cue-contingent automaticity.” Health Psychology 29.4 (2010): 374.
  6. Neal, David T., Wendy Wood, and Jeffrey M. Quinn. “Habits—A repeat performance.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 15.4 (2006): 198-202.
  7. Wood, Wendy, Jeffrey M. Quinn, and Deborah A. Kashy. “Habits in everyday life: thought, emotion, and action.” Journal of personality and social psychology 83.6 (2002): 1281.
  8. Andrews, Benjamin Richard. “Habit.” The American Journal of Psychology 14.2 (1903): 121-149.
  9. Fisher, Edwin B., et al. “Behavior matters.” American journal of preventive medicine 40.5 (2011): e15-e30.
  10. Ouellette, Judith A., and Wendy Wood. “Habit and intention in everyday life: the multiple processes by which past behavior predicts future behavior.” Psychological bulletin 124.1 (1998): 54.
  11. Wood, Wendy, and David T. Neal. “A new look at habits and the habit-goal interface.” Psychological review 114.4 (2007): 843.
  12. Verplanken, Bas, and Wendy Wood. “Interventions to break and create consumer habits.” Journal of Public Policy & Marketing 25.1 (2006): 90-103.

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