What you need to do to actually change a habit according to a neurologist

Do you automatically stumble into the bathroom to brush your teeth after waking up? Do you reach for a cup of coffee at the same time every afternoon? These are habits.

A habit is a learned behavior that we repeat often enough that it becomes automatic, and a study by Duke University found that about 40% of our actions throughout the day are habits.

Our brains create habits, also called procedural memory, to save energy. The less we have to think about something, the fewer resources our brain needs to use. This means that our brain can conserve energy for other, more complicated parts of our day.

When we want to change a habit, our willpower is overrated. Our brain is built to fall back into routines when we become stressed, hungry or fatigued. This is why changing a habit is so hard. But, it is possible to rewire our brain and make a change.

In this episode of For Health’s Sake, we talk to neurologist, Dr. Donna Koning, about the science of habit change. She explains how our brains form habits, how to analyze the “habit loop,” how to break habits and the surprising strategizes that work.