All About Habits

You’ve probably heard that making healthy choices—such as eating better, exercising more, increasing sleep, and reducing stress—can help you live longer and feel better. But making these changes can be hard. The reason why? Your habits.

What’s in a habit?

Habits are patterns of behavior that you do without much, if any, thought. They are the result of a psychological pattern called a “habit loop,” which has three parts:

  1. A cue: an event or thought that causes a behavior
  2. A routine: a behavior that you do
  3. A reward: a benefit linked with the behavior

Take exercise, for example. A reminder from your phone may be the cue, and doing some cardio is the routine. The reward may be something external, like praise from a partner, or internal, such as satisfaction with your effort or a strong a rush of endorphins.

Habits can be changed—with practice

As you’ve probably noticed, it can be hard to make healthy new habits stick, and it can be equally hard to break unhelpful ones. But change is possible! The main thing to know is that habits become hardwired into your brain via the habit loop, which makes your behavior become automatic.

How Vida helps

Because 40 to 45 percent of your daily behaviors are automatic, healthy habits can have a big impact on your overall well being.

With the Vida app, you’ll be cued (and motivated!) to complete healthy routines until they become second nature. Your coach is also here to support you in creating habits and staying on track.

Tips for good habits

We’ve suggested a habit for you to start with, but it’s always more meaningful if you create your own. The best habits follow the SMART framework:

  • Specific: State the what, where, and how of your habit.
  • Measurable: For example, “walking for 30 minutes a day” instead of “walking more.”
  • Achievable: Can you can achieve it? If it feels like too much of a stretch, scale back.
  • Relevant: Focus on habits in areas that you care most about.
  • Time-based: All habits should include a specific time frame, like a time of day (“before breakfast”) or an internal cue (“when I feel anxious”).