What Makes A Good, Healthy Habit?

Is it possible to develop harmful patterns of behaviour over time? Yes, but not in the way that you might expect.

The concept of "bad" is relative and can be extended to activities such as smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol. Nevertheless, the focus of this essay will be on practices that are beneficial to one's health.

It is the perfect blog post for you if you've been searching for strategies to improve your health simply by adopting more healthy behaviours. We will present suggestions that will assist you in maintaining your new behaviour!

What characteristics define a good and healthy routine? A positive habit is one that you look forward to engaging in. It needs to be something you can carry out without experiencing the strain or difficulty of labour.

If you detest engaging in your routines, they are not habits. Rather, they are activities that squander your time. However, if you want to change your behaviours to be healthier and more beneficial, you first need to determine what those new habits should be.

We frequently need more sleep but are unsure of how to achieve it. For instance, we could try reading a book instead of watching television before bed. It will help us feel drowsy sooner in the evening and allow us to sleep more quickly once our heads hit the pillow.

Developing and sticking to healthy routines is not easy, but it is not impossible either. To identify the characteristics of a good habit, we must first comprehend the factors that motivate individuals to cultivate healthy routines in the first place.

The response to this question is different for each individual who reads it. Despite this, some of the most prevalent reasons include bettering one's mental health, appearing better or feeling healthier, alleviating pain and discomfort (caused by headaches), and lowering one's risk of developing cardiovascular disease or cancer.

But even if our reasons for attempting to form a new routine are dissimilar, we all have conceptions of what constitutes a "healthy" routine in our minds.

While some individuals are under the impression that performing an activity daily will cause it to turn into a habit and get simpler with time, others believe that performing an activity on an ad hoc basis is just as effective.

Something that you desire to do regularly is considered to be a positive habit. It doesn't have to be strenuous, like working out or eating vegetables. It may be as easy as making the bed when you wake up.

A pattern of behaviour can become problematic when it contributes to stress or negatively impacts another individual psychologically, physically or financially.

Asking yourself the following questions is an effective method for determining whether or not the behaviour you are attempting to turn into a habit is genuinely detrimental to your health: Is the new way I'm behaving going to hurt me?

Is this behaviour causing harm to someone close to me? Does this behaviour require an excessive amount of one's time and energy? If this is the case, you can implement some strategies with the assistance of a trained therapist to break this undesirable pattern of behaviour.

Let's get started!

Forming New Healthy Habits

1. Routines VS. Habits

The vast majority of us operate under the assumption that they are equivalent. However, according to Nir Eyal, who is the author of the book "Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life", this is a frequent illusion, and it is one that typically results in disappointment. "Rather than the poor advice we read from someone who doesn't fully understand what can and cannot be a habit", he said, "we frequently blame ourselves when we fail at creating new patterns of behaviour". "When we fail at forming new patterns of behaviour, we often blame ourselves".

Eyal said a habit is a pattern of behaviour carried out with little or no conscious effort. Still, a routine is a series of behaviours that are consciously repeated regularly and occur in a predetermined order. Therefore, for behaviour to turn into a habit, it must first become a routine carried out regularly.

The issue is that many of us attempt to bypass the "routine" phase. According to Eyal, this is because we mistakenly believe that habits would enable us to perform strenuous or unpleasant activities on autopilot. (Your list of things to do would be much more manageable if it could complete itself somehow).

It makes sense.

In contrast to habits, routines are unsettling and call for concerted action on the part of the individual. For example, in the beginning, it may be challenging to maintain some habits, such as getting up early to run every morning or meditating for ten minutes every evening.

On the other hand, routines are so ingrained in our day-to-day lives that it seems off-kilter not to follow them. Imagine, for instance, that you did not clean your teeth before bed or did not have a cup of coffee with breakfast. Moreover, if you have already established certain behaviours into habits, it may even be uncomfortable to refrain from doing them.

2. Stack Your Habits 

According to specialists, the greatest method to create a new habit is to link it to the one you already have. You should look for patterns in your day and consider how you might use your current habits to develop new, more beneficial ones.

The morning routine is the one that many of us have the most success with, so adding a new habit into that pattern can be quite beneficial.

For instance, while enjoying your first cup of coffee in the morning, you might take the time to begin a new one-minute meditation practice. Alternatively, you might exercise your core by squats or standing on one foot while you brush your teeth to improve your balance.

End-of-the-day routines are something a good number of us are guilty of engaging in. For instance, when you get home from work, do you typically lie on the couch and switch on the television? So it's probably a good time to do one of the yoga poses you do daily.

3. Set Your Intentions

Remember that you cannot form all of your habits from your routines, and not all of your routines will either. Although some things can be quantified, doing so may involve excessive mental effort, reflection and attention. Because of this, activities such as playing an instrument, cleaning your apartment or keeping a journal do not belong in the category of habit. These actions are not effortless and cannot be performed without conscious thinking.

The important takeaway here is to carefully consider the action or behaviour you wish to establish as a habit. As an illustration, perhaps one of your daily goals is to consume more water during the day or to refrain from checking your email first thing in the morning. Be practical about the method you choose, whatever it may be. It will require a lot of perseverance, self-control and dedication.

According to Charles Duhigg, author of "The Power of Habit", there is no such thing as 21 days to create a new habit. "The length of time it takes will differ according to the individual you ask".

For instance, forming an enjoyable habit, such as eating chocolate for breakfast, can take a day, whereas working out every evening at five o'clock might take a lot longer.

UX researcher and author of the soon-to-be-released book Listen Like You Mean It, Ximena Vengoechea, adds: "Consider the goals you've set for yourself and the reasons behind them. Take, for instance, that you want to make a living as a writer".

Do you ever fantasise about fame, gaining respect, or making money by writing a novel? Is it so you can win over the affection or acceptance of someone important to you? Or is it just because you have a passion for the craft?"

When you have a clear understanding of "the why", it will be easier for you to maintain your motivation in the face of the inevitable challenges that arise when establishing new routines.

4. Start Small 

According to B.J. Fogg, author of the book "Tiny Habits", significant behavioural shifts call for a high level of drive, which is not always capable of being maintained over time.

He advocates beginning with small habits to make the transition into the new routine as smooth and painless as feasible. A little daily stroll, for instance, might be all needed to kickstart a lifelong physical activity routine. Alternatively, you might develop healthier eating routines if you carry an apple in your backpack daily.

Dr Fogg intended to begin the practice of performing daily push-ups in his own life. Therefore, he began by performing only two push-ups daily. To ensure that the behaviour would become second nature, he associated the performance of the push-ups with another daily routine: going to the bathroom.

After using the restroom, he started by dropping to the ground and performing two push-ups. Now, he makes it a point to do between 40 and 80 push-ups daily.

5. Do It Every Day 


Researchers from the United Kingdom looked at how people form habits in the real world. As part of their study, the researchers asked participants to choose a straightforward habit they wished to cultivate, such as drinking water during lunch or walking before dinner.

The study's findings, presented in the European Journal of Social Psychology, indicated that it took anywhere from 18 to 254 days for an activity to develop into a routine or automatic behaviour for the participant. Sixty-six days was the average amount of time!

The takeaway is that it takes a long time to build a habit, but habits form more quickly when we do them more often. Therefore it is important to begin with, something realistic and extremely simple to execute.

You will have a better chance of maintaining an exercise routine if you undertake some form of physical activity daily, such as jumping jacks, holding a yoga posture or going for a brisk walk, rather than trying to go to the gym three times each week.

After getting into the routine of exercising every day, you'll be ready to try out more challenging forms of physical activity.

6. Prepare For Roadblocks

Consider the reasons that, up to this point, you have not consistently engaged in this behaviour. What is it that has held you back in the past? Do feelings of shame or fear inhibit you? Or perhaps a shortage of time?

"Be familiar with your barriers now so that you can swiftly identify and manage them when they arise in the future because they will", Vengoechea advised. "Because they will".

Your hectic schedule may have prevented you from going to the gym daily. So put aside at least half an hour to an hour and a half of time on your schedule so that this kind of thing doesn't happen again. On the other hand, possibly you haven't felt very driven as of late.

Find a friend or two with whom you can discuss your objectives and work together to hold each other accountable. It could be a respected manager, colleague, friend or spouse, or it could even be a member of the family.

"Make sure you share your ambitions, intentions, plans (and maybe even fears!) with someone who can support you and remind you of why you're taking this on in the first place when the going gets tough", Vengoechea advised. "When the going gets tough, remind yourself why you're taking this on in the first place".

According to a body of academic work, your chances of attaining your goals significantly improve when you communicate them to a person whose viewpoint you respect and who is regarded as having a higher status than you, whether that person is higher in status or not.

7. Make It Easy 

Researchers who study habits know that when we remove the barriers that stand in our way, we increase the likelihood of acquiring new habits. One example would be packing your gym bag and leaving it by the door before you leave the house.

A study psychologist by the name of Wendy Wood claims that she started sleeping in her running clothing so that it would be simpler for her to get out of bed in the morning, put on her running shoes and run.

Developing an easy fitness routine can also be accomplished by selecting an activity, such as situps or jumping jacks, that does not require you to leave the house to perform it.

Friction is a term coined by Dr Wood, the author of the book "Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick", to describe the various forces that work against the development of positive habits.

In one of the studies, the researchers altered the timing of the elevator doors such that workers had to wait nearly a half minute for the doors to close. It was done so that the researchers could measure the effects of this adjustment. (In a normal situation, the doors will shut themselves after ten seconds).

Many individuals were persuaded that walking up the stairs was more convenient than waiting for the elevator because the delay was long enough.

Dr Wood commented that this demonstrates how sensitive humans are to even minute amounts of friction in their surroundings. "By merely decelerating the pace of the elevator, we were able to convince passengers to take the stairs, and they continued to do so even when we resumed the elevator's regular schedule".

Dr Wood points out that marketers are already skilled in minimising friction, and as a result, they may induce consumers to spend more money or buy more food, for example. Because of this, Amazon offers a button called "one-click", and fast food restaurants make it simple to upgrade to a larger portion size.

She said, "We're just very influenced by how things are organised around us in ways that marketers understand and are exploiting, but people don't exploit and understand in their own lives". "We're just very influenced by how things are organised around us in ways that marketers understand and are exploiting".

8. Start With Nudges

You may get a head start on your new routine by putting actionable actions or subtle prompts to assist you in getting started. The following are some recommendations that will help you get organised and get started. Feel free to utilise any or all of them.

Make A Schedule

You should schedule time on your calendar regularly (every day or every other day) to engage in the activity you wish to develop into a habit. On the other hand, make sure you don't go too far at the beginning. According to Vengoechea, "the odds are that you will fail and become frustrated before you even begin if you dive in too quickly and expect results right immediately".

Set Micro Habits

To make things as uncomplicated as possible, one more strategy to consider is to experiment with micro habits, which are small changes that (over time) bring you closer to reaching your objectives. Consider them stepping stones on the path that ultimately leads to your destination.

Take a look at the following examples to get a sense of what I mean:

  • The goal is to read more news that is related to the industry.

Here's what you should do: You should set up Google Alerts for topics that are either directly connected to your job interests or even those near them. It will encourage you to click through and read at least one or two daily alerts.

  • The idea is to improve the quality of your sleep.

What you can do: The blue light that emits from our electronic devices makes it difficult to get a decent night's sleep. Therefore, you should keep your favourite books beside your bed and charge your phone in a different room. Then, when it's time to wind down for the night, you'll probably pick up the book close by instead of browsing through your phone.

  • The objective is to fortify your existing connections.

You can motivate yourself to interact with other people by using various visual signals. For example, stick post-it notes all over the office with reminders like "Did you express thanks to a coworker today?" or "Make contact with someone new" to your computer's screen as a technique to help you stay focused on your objective.

Try Temptation Bundling

The final category of nudging focuses on finding ways to inject fun into mundane responsibilities.

Researcher Katie Milkman and her colleagues developed the concept, which may be summarised as follows: Take something you don't want to do and combine it with something you enjoy doing, and then perform both of those things together.

The following is an example of what temptation bundling can look like in practice: Combine a habit that provides you with immediate gratification (such as checking Instagram, listening to music, or binge-listening to your favourite podcast series) with an activity that is healthy but less enjoyable (running on the treadmill, filling out a spreadsheet, or doing chores around the house).

It would be best if you only permitted yourself to engage in the "fun" activity in conjunction with the "not-so-fun" activity.

For instance, in Milkman's study, the researchers provided the participants with iPods pre-loaded with four audio novels that they could only access while they were engaged in physical activity.

Because attendance at the gym was related to a reward, most participants increased the amount of time they spent there.

9. Reward Yourself 

The establishment of habits relies heavily on the accumulation of rewards. For instance, when we brush our teeth, the reward we receive is almost instantaneous: a minty fresh mouth.

However, some of the benefits, such as a reduction in body fat or the improvements in one's physical appearance brought on by exercise, take longer to manifest. Because of this, it is helpful to incorporate some quick rewards into the routine to assist you in forming the habit.

An exercise routine can be made easier to maintain if, for example, one listens to audiobooks or watches their favourite cookery show while exercising on a treadmill. You may also schedule a workout with a friend so that the payoff is spending time together.

10. Show Yourself Compassion


Lastly, as you embark on this road toward more mindful routines and, ideally, better habits, don't forget to be compassionate with yourself.

Any change that is intended to be long-lasting will require patience. So said, that is how things are. There will be good times and bad times. But you can do it, and if you've gotten this far, you are also ready for it.

Use the information and skills you've gained today as your guide. Allow them to direct you when you become lost, which is a normal feeling when attempting anything new (this is something you should expect).

How Your Bad Habits Affect Your Health

1. ‘Crack’ Your Knuckles

It isn't going to irritate your close friends and those you work with, but it also might not be very healthy for you. It is because your joints are lubricated by a fluid known as synovial fluid, which allows for easy movement.

The "cracking" sound that your knuckles make is caused when you pop the tiny bubbles suspended in that fluid. Doing it regularly increases your risk of developing swollen hands and reduced grip strength over time. However, it does not appear to increase your risk of developing arthritis.

2. Blast Your Headphones

The noise level is measured in decibels, and a typical discussion has a decibel level of roughly 60. Therefore, it is recommended that the volume on your headphones be kept below 75, roughly equivalent to a vacuum cleaner's volume, to be on the safe side.

Also, limit the time you spend listening to this to no more than a few hours at a time. If you spend a lot of time in noisy environments, you may gradually lose hearing as you age.

By the time we reach the age of 75, this occurs in more than half of us. In addition, hearing impairment in older persons has been related to cognitive difficulties and possibly brain tissue atrophy.

3. Cheat Yourself On Sleep

Not only will you look like a zombie during the day if you don't get enough sleep, but you may also have a higher risk of developing conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and depression.

And it could be more difficult for you to learn and remember new things. So create a regimen for your sleep and try to keep to it as much as possible. Also, try to sleep for at least seven to eight hours each night.

4. Surf Before Bed

It's the Internet, not the waves. The "blue light" emitted by electronic devices such as phones, laptops and TVs can make it difficult for people to fall or stay asleep.

In addition, several studies suggest that exposure to excessive nocturnal light of any kind may be associated with an increased risk of cancer (particularly breast and prostate cancer), diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Take some time to relax before going to bed. If you are interested in reading, you should pick up a book. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet for better sleep.

5. Drink Too Much

Men who consume more than 14 alcoholic beverages per week and women who consume more than seven increase their risk of developing the renal disease, liver illness, digestive disorders, heart problems, bone damage and potentially some malignancies.

Studies have shown that drinking alcohol in moderation, defined as no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men, may reduce the risk of developing certain cardiac diseases. But if you don't consume alcohol already, there's no incentive to start for that reason alone.

6. Eat Too Much

Even if it's food that's good for you, if you make eating it a habit, you'll probably put on some extra pounds. In addition, it can result in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure, increasing the risk of developing certain types of cancer.

Check the serving sizes of your food before each meal, and if you snack while watching TV, measure your food, so you know precisely how much you're consuming.

7. Eat Too Quickly

It may cause you to feel less content and increase the likelihood of overeating during the day. However, if you take your time while eating, you may need less food to feel full since your body will have more time to process the fact that you've had enough. In addition, taking little bites and chewing them thoroughly can assist you in maintaining attention while you are eating.

8. Bite Your Nails

It can cause damage to your teeth as well as the skin around your nail bed, which can ultimately result in an infection. In addition, when you put your fingers, which frequently contain germs, into your mouth, you risk increasing the number of times you become ill with a cold or another illness.

Keeping your nails properly cut or getting manicures regularly can be beneficial. If you think that stress is the root cause of your habit, you should look into stress management strategies like getting regular exercise. If you want assistance quitting, you should talk to your doctor.

9. Sit For Long Periods

The majority of individuals spend far too much time sitting down. The modern office, where you may spend hours hunched over your computer, contributes to the problem.

It causes your metabolism to slow down, which increases the likelihood that you may put on weight. But sadly, it's also associated with several other health issues, including coronary heart disease.

However, there is a simple solution to this problem: stand up and walk around every so often. Even just ten minutes of walking every day can make a difference.

10. Skip Flossing

You gave it a thorough brushing; isn't that sufficient? Nope, if you want to do everything you can to get rid of plaque, the sticky film is laden with bacteria that cause cavities, and you must clean between your teeth.

Plaque buildup can also result in gum disease, a dangerous condition related to several other significant health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

11. Eat Junk Food


Sugar gets into your blood too rapidly when you consume sweets, soda and pastries, which are high in calories but offer little nourishment.

Things of this nature have been connected to major health issues such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

"Complex carbohydrates", which include foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables and more fibre and nutrients, are more difficult to digest but help you feel fuller for longer and provide more consistent energy. A healthy diet might also include "good" fats, such as those found in nuts and seeds.

12. Spend Too Much Time Alone

What is more important than the number of people you know or how frequently you see them is your sense of being connected to other people.

If you don't, you increase your risk of developing conditions such as high blood pressure, depression, brain problems (such as Alzheimer's disease) and inflammation.

Join a social club, get in touch with old family and friends, or begin something new that requires the participation of other people if you are experiencing feelings of isolation. For example, you may join a reading club or learn to play tennis or bridge.

13. Smoke Cigarettes

This poor habit harms almost all of the organs in your body. It can result in various health issues, including coronary artery disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, bronchitis and emphysema.

You are also more likely to develop tuberculosis, vision difficulties, and immunological disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis if you do this.

In addition, your risk of developing asthma, heart disease, lung cancer, or a stroke is increased if you spend a significant amount of time near a smoker. Therefore, you should discuss stopping smoking with your attending physician.

14. Go To A Tanning Bed

Simply put, that is not a smart move at all. Women with lighter hair and skin are more likely to have skin cancer than other women, and they are also more likely to use tanning beds, which can increase the risk of skin cancer even further.

And the younger you are when you begin, the greater the likelihood that you will develop the condition. As long as tanning beds are used in the manner specified by the manufacturer, topical self-tanning solutions are generally regarded as a more secure alternative to sunbathing. Take care not to breathe in the vapours or get any of the product on your lips, nose or mouth.


Take some time to think about the reasons behind your desire to change your routine, regardless of what new routine you consider incorporating into your life.

Be patient and realise that this routine will eventually become a part of your life, just as so many others' routines have become a part of their lives with time and constant effort. Once you have gained clarity and a sense of direction,

Ultimately, everything boils down to making deliberate choices regularly.

What's the role of discipline in maintaining good, healthy habits?

Discipline plays a crucial role in maintaining good, healthy habits. Even when motivation wanes, discipline keeps you on track. It helps you stick to your routine, resist temptations, and make choices that align with your long-term goals. Discipline, therefore, can be considered the backbone of good habit formation and maintenance.

Can habits change our behaviour?

Yes, habits can significantly influence our behaviour. Habits are the small decisions and actions we perform daily without thinking. Over time, they shape our health, productivity, and well-being. A positive change in our habits can lead to improvements in our behaviour and overall quality of life.

How can I break unhealthy habits?

Breaking unhealthy habits is just as important as forming good ones. The first step is awareness - recognizing the habit and understanding its triggers. It's helpful to replace an unhealthy habit with a healthier one. For example, if you tend to snack on junk food when you're bored, try replacing it with a healthier option or engaging in a different activity like reading or walking. It may be difficult initially, but it's possible to break unhealthy habits with patience, persistence, and consistency.

Can good habits help to reduce stress?

Yes, good habits can significantly help to reduce stress. Regular exercise, for example, releases endorphins, known as the body's natural mood elevators. Healthy eating provides your body with the necessary nutrients to combat stress. Mindfulness and meditation can help you manage your thoughts and emotions, reducing stress and anxiety. Adequate sleep can ensure that your body is well-rested and equipped to handle stress. Forming and maintaining these habits can contribute to improved stress management.

How long does it take to create healthy habits?

The average timescale is 21–66 days. However, it might vary. European Journal of Social Psychology research estimates this. Habit formation requires consistency. Some people take longer, and some behaviours are harder to form.

Frequenly Asked Questions About Healthy Habits

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