Habits are one of the most influential factors affecting your life. In fact, most of your daily life is lived by habits. Habits are those behaviors or tendencies that you do automatically without thinking or consciously intending. They usually direct your actions, your reactions, your decision, and even your thoughts.
Whenever you repeatedly exhibit a behavior or response, it will likely become a habit. It typically takes time to develop a one. Experts have suggested that it takes about 21 days to either create or break a habit. Therefore, if you are trying to create or break one, you must make sure you are ready to commit for a while to make sure it sticks.
Many times they get created subconsciously. You may start biting your nails, fidgeting, or eating late at night develop without you even realizing it. These negative or destructive behaviors can develop just as much a good one. Therefore, it is important that you are aware of the behaviors you are unconsciously developing.
Habits can simplify your life by putting routine tasks on autopilot such as driving a car, brushing our teeth, setting the alarm, or doing the laundry. You probably do not need to think or pay explicit attention when you are performing these tasks. They can also make you more productive by allowing you to perform multiple tasks at the same time such as driving a car while listening to the radio or carrying on a conversation with someone.
Habits are not just limited to your behaviors; your thoughts can become ones as well. Positive or negative thinking can become a habit. If you repeatedly have the same thinking pattern, it will become a engrained.
Stephen Covey in his influential book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” outlines simple rules for life. The habits that Covey highlights (be proactive, begin with the end in mind, Think win-win, etc…) are focused on your thoughts and thinking patterns. He believes that having positive habits is the key to living a happy and successful life.
Our destiny changes with our thought; we shall become what we wish to become, do what we wish to do, when our habitual thought corresponds with our desire.” – Orison Swett Marden