habit(redirected from break the habit)
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an established mode of behavior whose performance by an individual in a certain situation becomes a need. Habits arise from the repeated practice of an action. In contrast to such practice, however, the decisive moment in the formation of a habit is not so much the mastering of an ability or a mode of action as it is the development of a new, functional need to practice this ability under certain conditions. An example is the alleged need to wash one’s hands before eating.
Habits are usually involuntary and for the most part unconscious. They may be the result of upbringing, but they often arise spontaneously. They may be restricted to certain situations, such as the habit of turning off a light when leaving a room, or they may characterize an individual’s overall behavior; examples are the habit of walking rapidly or of speaking softly. Habits develop in all types of activity and embrace all aspects of life. In terms of both social behavioral norms and personality formation, some habits are valuable, leading to the formation of positive character traits. Others are harmful and may develop into undesirable proclivities. Certain habits, particularly those relating to morals, may become permanent character traits.
A. A. PUZYREI