A habit is a behaviour that we perform automatically, we do it without thinking, it’s unconscious. It’s differentiated from a routine because it’s automatic.
A routine is conscious and carried out with intent. For example, if you buy a coffee from the same place every morning on your way to work, that’s routine.
A habit is anchored to a trigger or cue. For example, when I come home I put my keys on the kitchen bench. Coming in my front door, triggers the act of putting my keys on the bench. I do this automatically, without thinking. Another example is when I get into my car, I put my seatbelt on without having to consciously remember to do it, it just happens.
Here’s how to create a habit:
1. Decide on the habit you want to create – start small so it doesn’t feel like a chore
2. Choose the trigger or cue that initiates the behaviour
3. Reward yourself for doing the behaviour (this is important so your brain associates the act with pleasure)
√ Habit - I want to leave my phone out of the bedroom at night so that I can get better quality sleep.
√ Trigger - After I turn the TV off to go to bed, I will plug my phone in to charge in the kitchen.
√ Reward – After I plug in the phone to charge in the kitchen, I will read a chapter of my book in bed before drifting off to get the good quality sleep I need.