Habits and Routines

Habits are regularly practiced automatic behaviors. They occur because our brains are constantly looking for shortcuts, thus saving human energy and memory on retaining data about basic behaviors like walking or chewing. The power of Habit by Charles Duhigg is a great book that explains how habits work and how to break them, either within our personal or social life, or businesses.

MIT researchers studied the process of habit formation and identified it as a 3-step loop consisting of cue, routine and reward. Studies have shown that in order for habits to occur there must be a cue or trigger that initiates such habit, and the habit must provide a reward in order to encourage the constant occurrence of the routine. Once a cue is present and a reward is identified, the routine happens unconsciously, without the individual thinking about his behaviour. Identifying the cue, routine and reward is the key to breaking habits and routines.