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The Essence Of Habit Formation

Why is it important to know about habit formation? To do anything, you’ve got to understand it first. If you want to change bad habits or develop good ones, you need to know how habits are formed in the first place.

habit formation In essence, our habits are a series of patterns. When you first put on your socks, then your shoes, then tie your shoelaces, that whole process is an example of a pattern. Whenever we perform these patterns, our nerve cells will send messages to the brain about that pattern.

Why the messages? Why are they sent to the brain?

The human brain is like a big supercomputer that processes and interprets information to simplify the way we live our lives. All these messages sent by the nerve cells will be interpreted by the brain and meaningful conclusions will be formed from the interpretations.

For example, when you put your hand near fire, you feel pain. This message will then be sent to your brain. Your brain will process the message and conclude that putting your hand into fire will physically hurt you.

All information and interpretations from our past experiences will be stored in the brain. The record of that information will be in our brain. Anytime that we need it, we can pull up these records instantaneously and know what something means and what actions should be taken.

So in the fire example, the next time you are near fire, you will instantly pull up the record on fire and know that you cannot go near fire or else you will get hurt.

Our Habit Formation

Whenever we do something, whenever we perform a pattern, a physical neural connection will be created. This neural connection allows us to quickly re-access that set of behaviors, actions or feelings. That is why after we have done something for the first time, subsequent attempts to do it feels much easier and more natural. This is due to the neural connection. The purpose of it is to allow us to do routine tasks easier and faster.

But what happens when a behavior or pattern is repeatedly performed?

habit formation If you do something one time, there will be one connection. If you do something two times, the second connection will combine with the first one and create a stronger, bigger neural connection. Thus, the more frequently you do something, the bigger and stronger the neural connection becomes.

When you have a very strong neural connection to a particular behavior, you will be compelled to act it out. It is like a big river with strong currents which will sweep you to the direction of it’s flow if you get near it.

In other words, our habit formation is the result of strong neural connections. That is why we must be aware of the neural connections that we are constantly reinforcing.

The good news is just as a neural connection can become bigger and stronger when you do something often, it can also become smaller and weaker if you stop yourself from doing it. It is just like muscles. The more you use it, the bigger and stronger it gets. The less you use it, the weaker and smaller it becomes.

Want To Know More?

I want to understand what is a habit

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