Why is it so hard to change habits?

Trying to break habits is a daunting task. But, it is not impossible. Research has shown that people can change habits in as little as two months.

Habits are automatic behaviors that are stored in the basil ganglia, the part of the brain involved in emotions and basic life functions. Changing habits requires a new identity. Once you have a new identity, it is easier to make changes. You can also work with a therapist to break bad habits.

Habits are created for many reasons. Some are triggered by deep distress. Other habits are learned from experience. Habits are like shortcuts that help us get things done.

When you perform a behavior, your brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that gives you a rush. Your brain will seek more dopamine to keep you performing the behavior.

When you are trying to break habits, you must understand the triggers and cues that trigger your behavior. The cue or trigger may be an internal or external environment. For example, if you are eating dinner while scrolling through social media, the habit might be triggered by seeing a friend’s posting on Facebook.

It’s important to break habits when they are not helpful. For example, watching television until midnight is not helpful. However, checking Facebook at night can be fun at times.

If you are trying to break a habit, it is also important to define the goal. This will help you track your progress and tweak the goal as needed. A goal should be measurable and specific.

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