Neuroscientists have a long list of conditions that determine “automaticity.” Here’s a short list. If you meet these conditions, you can be fairly confident that a behavior has become a habit.
Let’s start with “boring.” Turning a routine behavior into a habit save time and energy. You spend less thought and effort on things you need to do, and have more time and energy left for things you find more interesting. So good habits help you minimize “boring” routine tasks.
But not all habits focus on routine tasks. You can—in fact, you should—cultivate the habit of doing things that are personally meaningful. When you add favorite activities and treats to your habit system, you’re adding enjoyment to your life.
Are habits controlling? If the idea of not making decisions troubles you, remember this: A habit is simply a decision you’ve already made. It’s your choice, reinforced through repetition and reward. Creating a habit system is about taking control of your life, not abdicating it. If you’re working on a habit that feels controlling, it’s a good idea to examine your reasons for pursuing this habit. Is it something you want, or are you doing it for someone else? Does this habit move you toward something you value, or is it just something you think you “should” do?
Select Feed from the main menu and scroll down to My Goals. Select, then click the New Goal link in the upper right corner.
There are two ways to create a goal. The GIDIG database includes goals in each category, which you can select and edit as needed, or you can create your own goal. The Purpose field is optional but helpful. Identifying your reasons for working toward a goal helps you understand your motivation and helps you own the process.
Choose a Unit of measurement from the dropdown list, then identify the Timeframe (daily, weekly, by a certain date) in which you plan to achieve the goal. The Set Goal field lets you add a numerical target, such as increasing to a certain number, decreasing, or maintaining a range.
A goal must be measurable, so you’ll need a measurement habit. When you chose a Unit of measurement, GIDIG creates a list of your existing habits associated with that measurement. Chose the one that applies. If you don’t have a measurement habit for this goal, select Habits from the main menu and take a moment to set one up.
The final field, My habits that support this goal, helps you see how your habits work together. It’s optional but recommended.