Behavioral Changes. Behavior Essay Example
Behavioral change requires time and conscious action. Furthermore, according to recent studies on average, it takes up to 66 days to turn a new behavior into an involuntary response (Wardle, 2009). However, there is not such a thing as a specific set number of days, some habits can take longer than others. For example, simple behaviors such as eating healthier or drinking more water need less time to turn into an automatic response, but a more complex task like following a workout routine takes more time to become part of the method. Also, repetition needs to part of the equation. A habit's main component is automaticity.
In order to change a behavior, it is necessary to repeat constantly until the action has become automatic. However, even though repetition is necessarily missing an opportunity does not affect the habit development process. The authors of a study performed in the University of London, the UK that consisted in measuring the ranges of automaticity by counting the constant strikes of the completed behavior, and the miss opportunities showed that missing an opportunity does not affect the development of a habit. (Philippa Lally et al., 2009)
When an action has is repeated throughout an extended period (66 days or more), it starts to become an automatic response to the environment and context in which it is usually performed. Furthermore, meaning is heavily related to habit formation. According to Wood and Neal "contexts activate habitual responses directly." The act of achieving the desired behavior in the same setting or similar creates a cue that triggers the new action that wants to be acquired making the process of habit development a steadier process.
Although, what about the habits that are already ingrained in our routine? This we learn from the moment humans start interacting with their environment and begin to perform the same behavior in an exact or similar context. For example, babies. When a newborn is brought to their home, everything is new and there no relation between their behavior and the environment around them. However, as the child grows, and the time passes by, repetitive behaviors start to take place daily. Things such as when the mother showers the baby or when it is time for a meal, most likely this different behavior every time happened in the same setting or a similar one. How humans behave affect their lives and to a degree their environment.
Dan Buettner once said "A long healthy life is no accident. It begins with good genes, but it also depends on good habits." Nowadays health is something that has become a trend to keep in shape, but in the present time, humans are living a life in constant change, leaving no room for awareness. However, one of the ways that people are implementing to keep a good physical and mental health is by acquiring good habits. The act of having a routine helps people to perform behaviors in an automatic fashion increasing the chances of the continuity of the behavior. However, the acquisition of health related habits is more difficult because it takes longer to assimilate complex behaviors. According to a study performed in London, in which the objective was to analyze in how much time a group 120 persons would lose weight by eating healthy and exercising in a regular basis for a period of 32 weeks. The results were that it took 3 months to turn those behaviors in an ingrained habit and that they started to lose weight 2 weeks after the study started Philippa (2008).
Although habits are a definite asset in humans’ lives, it can also cause damage. Some behaviors negatively affect people, for example; actions such as drinking alcohol, overeating, smoking and the list gets bigger and bigger. This type of behavior harms the ones that are a victim of it and also the ones around them. However, changing behavior or getting rid of it entirely is difficult because the brain already recognizes it as an automatic behavior. For more severe and complicated habits like smoking help from a professional might be necessary, but for behaviors less complicated such as an unbalanced diet or exercising, the process is more natural. For example, someone that has an unbalanced diet can start by eating a piece of fruit with lunch every day or changing a small part of their diet can help as well. The key is to start with small changes that are doable in the same context or a similar one and the presence of a cue that triggers the desired behavior.
Students are often overwhelming by big amount of things to take care of in a everyday basis. The life that this part of the society carries can get really unhealthy, and even more if students do not have a routine to keep in control when to start to work on each assignment and something that helps them keep a balance life in each stage of their lives. This can lead to getting sick and not giving their maximum potential when it comes to cognitive and physical state. Having a good base on good habits when we are through this interesting but at the same time stressful new stage of our lives, it can seriously damage their healthy which can also affect their performance at their studies. Also, it can damage other aspects of their life such as their social life and their mental health.
Nowadays, students have been drowned away from life by technology and commodities, but in a environment in which at some point on time they will have to face how to be independent and navigate on their own. In times like this it is imperative that young people spend time on developing routines and behaviors that will help make life easier and more complete. Learning a routine or developing behaviors that could benefit different aspects of their lives is imperative and it makes life away from home less overwhelming and more manageable. Things like organizing their time, meal-prep and exercising regularly can make life so much easier. For example, applying the use of agenda or planner to organize the time they spent on important task. Another thing that can help is creating goals, it can be weekly or monthly or even daily, the point is that knowing the reason why of the actions or why their working towards something can actually make the process of learning much more pleasant and motivating. When it comes to diet, it is easy to get carried away with the other task and completely forget about the food they eat. Students are the population prompt to eat fast food or take out because is quick and easy. But, this a horrendous mistake because a unhealthy diet can bring down cognitive performance, making the process of learning more difficult and frustrating. A spectacular way to start eating healthier and actually maintain a balanced diet is meal prepping, which consist on making portions of meals for a whole entire week or for three days and just cook three times a week. This helps students save money, eat healthier and just have a better lifestyle overall.
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