Behaviors & Habits

How are you doing after the daylight savings spring forward time loss?

Taking an hour away is mean, especially when you have a demanding work schedule, kids doing activities who also need to go to sleep when it’s lighter in the evening, and you’re working toward better habits.

A conversation that has come up recently is what’s the difference between behaviors and habits? 

Behaviors and habits are very similar concepts with some key differences.

First, behaviors refer to actions or reactions in response to internal or external provocations. Your behaviors can be intentional or unintentional, and they can include a wide array of actions.

Habits are a specific behavior that you perform repeatedly and automatically in response to certain cues or triggers. Your habits are patterns of behavior created by you through repetition and usually happen without much thought.

Behaviors can be temporary or occasional. Your behaviors might be influenced by variables like your emotions, environment, and your personal beliefs.

Habits are more consistent and built to be longer-lasting. Habits are formed through repeated actions and tend to become automatic over time. Once you establish a habit you can carry it on without conscious effort.

You might be asking, “How do we form a specific behavior and/or habit?”

Behaviors can be adjusted by changing our circumstances or goals. Behaviors may require deliberate effort and decision-making.

“I get my workout clothes and a quick snack ready the night before so when I wake up in the morning, all I have to do is get dressed, get in my car and drive to my 5:30am reservation.”

Habits are formed through a process of repetition and reinforcement. Your habits become ingrained through consistent practice and typically develop without conscious intention.

“I wake up every morning at 4:30am without my alarm because I know it’s time to get up and go to the gym.”

Behaviors can have immediate effects on your well-being, relationships, and goals. Your behaviors might differ in their meaningfulness and can be easily modified or adapted.

“I stopped drinking beer/wine before I go to bed so that I can have optimal recovery to train early in the morning.”

Habits are more profound with their impact on your behavior and lifestyle. They model long-term patterns of action and can greatly influence overall health and successes.

“Going to the gym early in the morning three times a week sets me up for great energy throughout the day, I feel focused, accomplished, and I’m getting closer to achieving my next set of fitness goals!”

While behaviors refer to a broad range of actions or reactions, habits represent repetitive, almost automatic behaviors, that are deeply ingrained through consistent practice.

Habits can play a significant role in shaping your daily routines, lifestyle, and overall behavior.

As James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, wrote, “Habit plus deliberate practice equals mastery.”