How Are Habits Formed

A man wearing glasses

Have a look that how habits are formed.


Habits are formed through a process of conditioning. Most of the time, we don’t even realize that we’re forming habits- we just do them automatically. For example, if you drive to work every day, you’ve probably formed a habit of driving there. Forming habits means creating routines for yourself that eventually become automatic. This could be anything from brushing your teeth every night to working out every morning. Over time, these routines will become easier and easier to do until they barely take any effort at all.

A close up of a woman

Different Way Of Thinking:

A different way of thinking about forming habits is that they are good routines that are triggered by certain cues. You can create these cues for new habits or alter existing ones to change an old habit into a new one. For example, let’s say you want to stop eating junk food when watching television at night- this might be hard after dinner comes “family time” and socializing. To help take your mind off of food, try forming a different habit- one that you already have established such as brushing your teeth or taking a shower. By forming the new habit, it takes less cognitive effort to not think about eating when watching TV at night because it’s no longer part of your pre-existing routine.

A person sitting at a desk in front of a laptop computer

According To Charles Duhigg:

According to Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit,” over time this cycle makes the routine automatic. It becomes more and more difficult to stop doing it. This is why forming new habits takes some mental effort at first- your brain is trying to establish a new pattern. However, once that habit has been around long enough, it will eventually start getting triggered on its own without any conscious thought from you at all. For example, forming the habit of brushing your teeth every night is relatively easy. Making it a habit to floss every night takes some more mental effort, but once it’s firmly embedded in your routine you won’t have to think about it anymore.


There are three steps to forming a habit:

The first step is called the “cue” or the “trigger”. This is the event or situation that starts the habit loop.

The second step is the “routine”, which is what you do when the cue occurs.

The third step is called the “reward”, and this is what you get after completing the routine.

The reward can be positive (such as a sense of accomplishment) or negative (such as breaking a bad habit). By rewarding yourself for forming good habits, you help the habit loop complete itself. One danger of forming habits is forming bad ones instead. That’s why many smokers start using smoking as a “cue” for certain activities like going outside or after dinner because they don’t want to ever visit those places without their cigarettes again. 

Sum up:

In the end, forming good habits takes time, but after they’re embedded it’s difficult to break them. That’s why forming as many as you can is a great idea- even forming one that seems small will reap big rewards over time. The best part of forming a habit is once you’ve done it for a while, it becomes much less work and much more natural to keep going. If forming new habits is something you want to do or have been trying your hand at lately, remember these tips: know what cue starts the routine, create a reward for yourself, and form good routines instead of bad ones. By following these steps every day you’ll find forming habits easier than ever before.

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter