The human instinct to seek out gratification can lead us down paths of wonderful spontaneity—like going for a walk because it’s sunny out or, ahem, spending an hour scrolling your feed on the couch. But are you as unpredictable and whimsical as you think?
“A lot of what you do, even if you feel it’s conscious, is done automatically,” explains Benjamin Gardner, PhD, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Surrey in the UK who has devoted the last 15 years of his career to studying habits. This is especially true of habits, good or bad. They’re, well, habitual, meaning that our brain follows along without a ton of conscious thought. And that makes them really challenging to tweak.
Experts In This Article
- Benjamin Gardner, PhD, licensed psychologist, researcher, lecturer, and public speaker on the psychology of habitual behavior