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healthy habitsHabits form whether we like it or not. They shape who we are and what we do, most of the time, without us even realizing it. Most of what we do is done unconsciously. We eat when we’re hungry, sleep when we’re tired, and use the bathroom when necessary. We don’t have to think twice about these things because they’re habits. We also have unhealthy habits that shape our lives. Substance use is one such example. Maybe you have a cigarette when you walk your dog or have a glass of wine every night with dinner. Although we once made the conscious choice to do these things, they have become habitual. We do them now without even thinking about it. So, how do we break those unhealthy habits and set healthier ones in our recovery? You’ve come to the right place!


Why Do We Develop Habits?

Habits are formed because we are continually looking for ways to save effort and energy. If we learn how to do something that we don’t have to think about, we are saving energy for the more critical decisions. The bad news is that our brain cannot tell good behavior from bad behavior — it tries to turn everything into a habit. Once your mind has created a pattern, it can be challenging to change. Although habits are hard to break, it is possible to create new ones in their place. It’s going to take some self-awareness, healthy decisions, and a hefty dose of repetition, but you can do it! Your recovery is worth it!


“The Anatomy of a Habit” by Alison Morgan for Psychology Now

Habits happen when there is repetition in our actions. But there’s more than that, says Morgan. Here are the four steps of a habit:


  • Trigger


Something will trigger your brain to slip into automatic mode and decide, unconsciously, what habit to use. “This can be anything from a time of day, a place, an emotion, company of certain people, a visual trigger, and so on,” Morgan says. This trigger triggers automatic thoughts and behaviors that are habits.



  • Routine


The routine or habit is the actual behavior that you do. This routine can be a physical experience or emotional behavior, she says.



  • Reward


The reward is the payoff for completing the habit. It is “something that helps you work out whether this pattern is worth remembering,” says Morgan. The reward is the fuel to the fire. 



  • Craving


Because habits are so powerful, your brain begins to anticipate and crave the reward over and over again. Once you have been triggered, your mind expects that reward, which drives you to complete the habit, most of the time, without even realizing it. 


Tips On Setting Healthy Habits In Recovery

You can always set healthy habits that you practice in your recovery that will overtake your bad habits. Here are some of Morgan’s tips on how to set healthy habits:

  • “Identify the habit you want to change
  • Make a positive commitment to that change
  • Identify the trigger
  • Identify the reward
  • Change the behavior
  • Keep the reward
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat.”


The Guest House is here to help you set healthy habits in your recovery. Call us today at 855-483-7800. We can’t wait to speak with you today. Call us now!