Don’t Fall into the Habit Trap
Have you ever tried to build a habit?
You might have come across things like it takes 21 days or 66 days to build a habit.
The habit is supposed to become effortless just like brushing your teeth.
However, not every behavior can become a habit. It is more suited as a routine.
What is the difference, you ask?
If you skip a habit, it would feel unnatural and maybe even uncomfortable.
Try not to brush your teeth for a couple of days.
However, skipping or forgetting a routine might not feel that uncomfortable.
In fact, it could be even pleasurable. Try skipping a workout and staying in bed especially if you’ve recently started exercising. (Guilty as charged!)
This is what brings me to the article of the day.
Stop Confusing Habits for Routines by Nir Eyal
According to Nir, every behavior is prompted by pain, unlike the popular Freud’s theory of pleasure-pain.
The motivation to do any behavior is a desire to escape discomfort.
How and when you manage the discomfort is critical to understanding habits and routines.
The popular trigger-cue-reward theory of habits might help to kickstart a behavior- a routine or a series of actions.
But only a few of those behaviors will become habits or in the other words, won’t cause discomfort and start happening automatically.
Any behavior that requires conscious effort (like writing or regular exercising) is unlikely to become a habit.
This is because the behaviors that require concentration, conscious thought, deliberation, or extended effort, are not habits.
They are routines.
Believing otherwise and expecting the discomfort to go away eventually (for a routine to turn into an effortless habit) is setting ourselves to fail.
What is the solution then?
Be okay with the knowledge that some behaviors would never become habits. Don’t count on them to happen on their own someday.
Expect them to cause some discomfort, make time in your schedule for them, and pre-commit to take action with the help of accountability partners.
That’s all from me today!
Do let me know what you think of this distinction between habit and routines.
What has been your experience with building habits?
Just hit reply & share your thoughts!