Understanding Habit Formation

Habit formation is the process by which new behaviors become automatic. If you instinctively reach for a cigarette the moment you wake up in the morning, you have a habit. By the same token, if you feel inclined to lace up your running shoes and hit the streets as soon as you get get home, you've acquired a habit. Old habits are hard to break and new habits are hard to form. That's because the behavioral patterns we repeat most often are literally etched into our neural pathways. The good news is that, through repetition, it's possible to form new habits (and maintain them as well). 

Recent Posts on Habit Formation

A Few Surprising Predictors of Exercise Enjoyment

While further research is always needed from multiple labs and with multiple and diverse populations, our most recent research suggests that your beliefs about your own fitness and working harder might actually help you to enjoy your exercise more. And if you enjoy it, you’ll do it. And if you do it, your body, mind and soul will be better off as well.

What to Do When Your Anxiety Won’t Go Away

Outsmart your brooding ways with these nine mind games. After all, calm is an inside job.

How Do Drugs Hijack Your Brain?

Occasional use of certain drugs can trigger structural changes in your brain that make some people more likely to become addicts.

How to Organize Your Financial Life

Tax time is over and you swear it won’t be like this again.

One Billion People Share This Addiction. Are You Among Them?

The global statistics on substance abuse and addiction are surprising. One billion people around the world share a common addiction. Are you one of them?

A Grab Bag of Wisdom to Help You Enter Flow

You know those times when you aren't in the mood to write, but you want to get in the mood? Read some of these honest and insightful quotes from good writers to help ease your own transition into the headiness of a creative flow state.

Sometimes, You Have to Work Hard to Be Lazy

I’ve learned that if something is important to me, I should find a way to put it on my calendar.

The Thinking Trap

People believe their own thoughts despite the fact that much psychological science shows this is an illusion........

8 Ways to Achieve More by Working Less

Strategic slacking has enabled me to dramatically increase both the quality of my work and the amount I get done in a given day. It increases productivity because we don't think or work or create at the same rate throughout the day.

Four Steps to Making Change an Opportunity Not a Threat

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on May 04, 2015 in The Power of Prime
In general, people don’t like change. During primitive times, change was perceived as a threat to survival which triggered our ‘fight or flight’ response. Unfortunately, though we like to think that we have evolved far beyond our ancestors, the reality is that we are still quite primitive in some basic ways including our response to change.

No Time For Figuring Out Your Money?

By Michael F. Kay on April 30, 2015 in Financial Life Focus
Life is busy and maybe even overwhelming at times. Work, family, friends, hitting the gym, scheduling, and taxi service for your kids—it's a lot. Finding time to dig into the meat of your finances can be a battle you ignore at your peril.

4 Ways to Toss Things With No Regrets

Clutter can paralyze and terrorize, to the point where you give up and resign yourself to living with its oppressive, stressful presence. Here are some simple strategies to get rid of existing clutter and change the habits that create it in the first place.

Feeling Lonely Sometimes….

You may have 1000 friends on Facebook and still feel lonely

How Does a Rebel Change Habits?

By Gretchen Rubin on April 28, 2015 in The Happiness Project
I love it when people tell me about their ingenious ways of working with their Tendency, in order to change their habits.

Something Becomes Important Because We’re Paying Attention

By Gretchen Rubin on April 27, 2015 in The Happiness Project
It’s our listening that makes a conversation important; it’s our vision that makes a masterpiece; it’s our love that makes a face stand out from the crowd.

Encouraging the Best From Your Child

Parents have so many worries, but by instituting some proactive strategies for positive reinforcement they may be able to affect healthy outcomes in their children.

Are Souls Like Athletes...

By Gretchen Rubin on April 21, 2015 in The Happiness Project
The seven storey mountain is the mountain of Purgatory that must be climbed to reach Paradise.

What Seinfeld Understood About Motivation and Psychology

By Jonathan Fader Ph.D. on April 20, 2015 in The New You
There aren’t many life lessons that haven’t been covered in Seinfeld: in the show’s nine year run it covered difficult parents, relationships, alternate-side parking, muffin tops, shower pressure, and the ethics of double dipping—to name a few. But Jerry Seinfeld, the real person, had another life lesson to offer off the air to one aspiring comic.

10 Tips to Change From Reactive to Proactive in Situations

All of us encounter experiences in life when we may be temporally overwhelmed by a negative emotion, be it anger, pressure, nervousness, despair, or confusion. In these situations, how we choose to “master the moment” can make the difference between proactive versus reactive, and confidence versus insecurity. Here are ten ways to be less reactive in difficult situations...

The Shocking Truth of Gadget Use

With every two out of three Americans owning a smartphone, our digital diet has expanded exponentially. The average American spends 11 hours with electronic gadgets every day.

Feeling Financially Overwhelmed?

By Michael F. Kay on April 16, 2015 in Financial Life Focus
Life is busy and maybe even overwhelming at times.

Change Doesn't Happen Overnight, It Happens in 5 Stages

Trying to change too fast can actually set you up for failure. Whether you want to exercise more often or you want to spend less money, there are five stages of change you'll likely go through.

"Squash It!”

We tend to focus on ‘squashing’ ‘bad’ behavior, A shift in perspective to examining the motivations behind the behavior may ultimately prove more useful.

7 Secrets to Hitting Your Reset Button

Dr. Michael Roizen, co-author with Dr. Oz on the best-selling YOU series, has just published a new book, “This is Your Do-Over.” The book provides 7 secrets to better physical health. Fortunately, these same secrets are the pathway to positive mental health, happiness, and well-being.

10 Things To Do Instead of Cheating On Your Diet

By Gregg McBride on April 11, 2015 in The Weight-ing Game
We all do it: Eat something we really didn’t want to avoid boredom, avoid stress or to get through a difficult moment. Next time you hit a food mood that really isn’t about hunger, try one of these 10 food substitutes to get through the angst, calorie-free.

The Wisdom Behind the Saying “Get Some Perspective?”

Maintaining a new habit becomes easier when people ask themselves why they are doing an activity rather than how they are doing it.

Can Healthy Living Reduce Cancer Risk? (Part Two of Two)

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on April 06, 2015 in Media Spotlight
According to available statistics, roughly fourteen million people worldwide were newly diagnosed with cancer in 2012 alone. That same year saw about eight million cancer deaths. How many of those deaths might have been prevented using available medical knowledge about cancer risks? And how many more cancer deaths can we expect over the next three decades?

5 Ways to Get Your Partner to Change

By Kira Asatryan on April 01, 2015 in The Art of Closeness
Throw away those destructive ways of trying to change your partner. Learn a new method that inspires change and brings you two closer.

6 Traits of Successful People

Embracing and enacting these six traits will lead you along the same path to success as the notable individuals throughout history.

Want to Change a Habit?

By Gretchen Rubin on March 31, 2015 in The Happiness Project
I truly do believe that it’s possible for us to change our habits—even when we’ve failed before.