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 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—and maintain—new habits.

Recent posts on Habit Formation

Our Worst Angels: Inconvenient Psychological Truths, Part 1

By Noam Shpancer Ph.D. on June 22, 2017 in Insight Therapy
What might rappers, gender studies academics, and abusive parents have in common?

Why Posted Prices Are Often Meaningless

There’s a significant gap between asked-for prices and what customers actually pay.
By Sanjay Acharya (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 Wikimedia Commons

New Thinking Required: Oil, Cars, and Walking

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Commitment and How To Grow It

Having the assurance that the commitment in the relationship is strong and sturdy provides a large playing field to struggle with the essential issues that every couple must face.

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Why does the LGBT population have a higher prevalence of eating disorders?

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It’s a repeated, habitual pattern of three potentially harmful spending behaviors.
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I Give My Own Response to the “Ask Amy” Advice Column

To my mind, the writer’s problem is not “I’m lazy,” it’s “I need accountability.”

Why Are These Men Downloading Child Pornography?

By Karen Franklin Ph.D. on May 30, 2017 in Witness
Porn videos have only streamed over tube channels for a single decade. In that brief time, they've wrought unprecedented changes in sexuality.

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8 Habits That Make Millennials Stressed And Unproductive

By Caroline Beaton on May 26, 2017 in The Gen-Y Guide
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What advice would you give to a graduate?

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How to unwind even when you're too stressed to think straight.
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Whenever an Obliger struggles to get something done, the solution is always the same: external accountability. It’s just a question of figuring out what form it’s going to take.

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The Habit Replacement Loop

Replace your bad habits with good ones! New research on habit formation offers information on how to improve student success by establishing a new normal in learning.

Forgiveness Part 2

Monica found her way to forgiveness the hard way, the way many people do, by experiencing pain and betrayal.

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Warning! Don’t Expect to Be Motivated by Motivation

Instead of thinking about motivation, I argue that we should think about aims, and then concrete, practical, realistic steps to take us closer to our aims.

Five Counterintuitive Ways to Benefit From Psychotherapy

Are you running out of ways to make therapy more useful? Try these approaches.

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Marijuana: The Newest Invasive Species

By Mark Borigini M.D. on April 30, 2017 in Overcoming Pain
As if cell phones and one-more-Corona were not enough to keep those of us who do value our lives off the highways, now we all must contend with a large population driving stoned.

Too Much Soda May Be Shrinking Your Brain

By Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN on April 30, 2017 in Cravings
Too much of the sweet stuff may prematurely age your brain and body, so why take a chance when you already know it's not good for you? Here's what you can do instead.

Get Better Sleep

The National Institute of Health estimates that more than 40 million Americans have sleep disorders. Yet there are several key strategies to get better sleep.

A Dose of My Own Medicine

The Stress in America survey indicates that over half of Americans are stressed by the political climate. Small changes in your routine may make a big impact on overall stress.

Wake-Up Call

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Is Clicker Training the Most Effective Way to Train Dogs?

New data resolves the controversy as to whether clicker training is better than using a word of praise when training dogs.

Psychotherapist as a Dance Archeologist

By Karen L Smith MSS, LCSW on April 03, 2017 in Full Living
An explanation through metaphor of why we repeat patterns from our families of origin and how therapy helps us change that.

Is It True That "Movement is Medicine?"

By Meg Selig on March 30, 2017 in Changepower
Too tired and achy to exercise? Evidence is piling up that exercise is just what you need to prevent certain health problems and reduce the risk or harmful impact of others.

Staying Safe in a Fast-Changing World

By Steve Casner Ph.D. on March 30, 2017 in Careful
Everyday accidents are on the rise and here's how to avoid them.

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Spring is the perfect time to clear out clutter, not just in your space but across your whole life.