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1. Psychol a learned behavioural response that has become associated with a particular situation, esp one frequently repeated
2. Botany Zoology the method of growth, type of existence, behaviour, or general appearance of a plant or animal
3. Crystallog short for crystal habit
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A repetitious behavior pattern.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

habit, habit of growth

The distinctive appearance and pattern of growth of a plant.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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The great thing is, we all have the power to create or change our habits. By understanding how our habits are formed, you'll be able to turn helpful eating, activity and mindset behaviours into regular habits that will benefit your daily life.
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The premise of the concept is that a habit well established will aid the formation and maintenance of other habits.
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Charles Duhigg, author of the book The Power of Habit and a renowned behavioral psychologist, says people are unsuccessful at forming new habit because they do not know how habits are formed and developed.
If people were asked questions the day before they go to vote to make an identity-related phrase like 'I am a voter,' they were more likely to show up than if they were simply talking about a behaviour, such as 'I plan to vote tomorrow.' There are a bunch of studies that show once you invoke a particular identity, you're more likely to stick to the habit in the long run.
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Changing habits requires you first to understand your habit loop that is, there is a cue that triggers a routine, which then triggers a reward.
used habit insights to turn a failing product into one of its biggest sellers.