Habits can change our lives either positively or negatively. Of course, it depends on us what influence we want habits to have on our lives.
abits refer to a usual way of behaving or a tendency that someone has settled into. They are the repetitive actions that guide how we live our lives, usually without conscious thought. Habits are automatic behaviors. From checking our phone to walking a certain route home every day.
According to researchers at Duke University, habits account for about 40% of our behaviors in our everyday life. As explained in MIT research, there are three stages that are critical in forming any habit: a cue, a routine, and a reward.
Tricky behaviors: What to be aware of
There is a golden rule that says that you can’t eliminate a bad habit, you can only change it. There are many actions that can turn to bad habits and affect our everyday life that need control, some of which are as follows:
#1 Use of social media
Social media is a good source of information but checking on social media and scrolling for hours, especially before sleeping, can become a negative behavior pattern. This is known as “revenge bedtime procrastination” and describes the phenomenon in which people refuse to sleep early because they feel they did not engage in the activities that they wanted during the day. For many seafarers, this may create disruption of their sleeping patterns and could potentially make this professional group prone to such behaviors. If seafarers can break this bad habit, then they will have more quality sleep.
What is more, the use of mobile phones whilst operating a vehicle or machinery poses a major safety risk and has led to multiple accidents globally. As CHIRP Maritime says, using personal mobile devices such as mobile phones and MP4 players whilst on duty can lead to serious safety issues. If crew members onboard feels they can monitor the screens in front of them, and the mobile phone at the same time, this is a bad habit; CHIRP has produced an informative video, explaining the dangers
In general exercise helps to break the cycle of unhealthy habits and move toward healthier choices. When it comes to people onboard, fitness activities are very important for their physical and mental health. Exercise boosts energy and can improve their muscle strength and, by extension, their efficiency at work. However, for many seafarers, the opportunities for fitness are still limited.
In addition, there is another side of the coin where exercise may become an unhealthy behavior. This refers to the known as “overtraining”. Overtraining can be associated with any type of sports or fitness program—from running to group exercise to resistance training—and it can happen at any age. Fitness activities are very important for everyone’s physical and mental health and a workout with limits can prevent from “overdoing it”.
To help avoid turn exercise into a negative experience, the following key questions need to be considered before any workout:
- Did you sleep well last night?
- Was your a.m. resting heart rate regular (for you)?
- Have you taken in enough nutrition and fluids today?
#3 Toxic Relationships
Socializing is a very important part of our lives. Social isolation has been identified as problematic for seafarers for many years and it is not surprising that if people feel isolated, their wellbeing is likely to be affected. For this reason, they have the need to connect with other people, which helps to reduce stress.
However, relationships are beautiful when it is with the right person. Right from a young age, many people have a picture of the kind of relationship they want.
When you have a toxic relationship, you might consistently feel drained or unhappy after spending time with your partner, according to relationship therapist Jor-El Caraballo, which can suggest that some things need to change.
#4 Bad organizing habits
The habit of organizing your space will help you to organize your life. The more you practice organizing, through small daily tasks, the more organized you’ll become.
However, there are many bad organizing habits that don’t help you. For example, the habit of not putting things away when you’re done with them is one of the easiest bad organizing habits to break. In addition, too many people still rely on their memory to remember things. But the human brain is not equipped to hold a ton of short-term reminders.
How to bring change
There are many ways to change a bad habit. According to research, there is the 21/90 rule, which states that it takes 21 days to make a habit and 90 days to make it a permanent lifestyle change. The 21 days to a new habit myth likely comes from a book published by Dr. Maxwell Maltz in 1960, where he noticed a trend of people adapting to new transitions in their life. Dr. Maltz was a plastic surgeon and noticed that when he completed reconstructive surgery for someone, it would appear to take about 21 days for the patient to adapt to the change.
However, many support the 66-day rule which is based on a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology in 2009. Researchers at University College London conducted a study in which participants were asked to choose a new habit and track their progress for 84 days. The researchers found that it took an average of 66 days for the participants to form a new habit.
In conclusion, habits affect multiple aspects of our lives, including mental and physical health. It’s very important and helpful to do what makes us happy. For this reason, we can change habits that no longer align with our needs. Always remember that the best way to change a habit is to replace it with a new one.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
– Will Durant