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

University Leicester, flickr

My Best Advice for Graduates: 12 Tips for a Happy Life

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3 Easy Tips to Reduce Job Stress and Avoid Burnout

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.

Forgiveness Part 3

Her transformed self-image has been earned and hard-won. She has become a courageously outspoken advocate for and an inspiration to many men and women...

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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Have you given enough thought to what's necessary to stay safe during a planned or emergency hospital visit?
airpix, flickr

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.

Feeling Depressed? Train Your Brain to Do This, Instead

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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

How I became determined to shed light on addiction.

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.

Spring Clean Your Space, Your Stuff and Your Life

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

Crack of Dawn Workouts

By getting up at 4:30 a.m., I have already made a powerful statement to myself that I am willing to work for what I want in a single-minded, extremely determined way.

How We Create Unnecessary Anxiety To Motivate Ourselves

By Grant H. Brenner M.D. on March 27, 2017 in ExperiMentations
How being dependent on anxiety is holding you back.

Stanford Scientists Discover Surprising Cerebellum Functions

A pioneering Stanford University study has discovered a previously unknown cognitive role of specific neurons in the historically overlooked cerebellum (Latin for "little brain").
jessica wilson, flickr

For the International Day of Happiness

By Gretchen Rubin on March 20, 2017 in The Happiness Project
If someone asked you, “What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about happiness?” what would you answer?
Courtesy of Max Pixel

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One woman's inspiring story and her simple happiness hack.

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There seems to be a way around the 5-to-7-a-week exercise goal.

The Secret to Keeping Your New Year's Resolution

The real reason you haven't kept your resolution will surprise you.

Moving Out of Life as a Lab Rat

"Lab rat living" feels as if you are “doing time.” There is no psychological engagement with the world, resulting in a limited range and depth of your emotional experiences.

Your Children Will Give You What You Seem to Expect

By David M. Allen M.D. on February 27, 2017 in A Matter of Personality
When parents are overly preoccupied with something their child does, the child may think the parents need to be thusly preoccupied, and so increase the behavior's frequency.