We all know what bad habits are. Smocking, eating unhealthy foods, or living a sedentary lifestyle are just some of the things that are drummed into us as behaviors we ought to avoid to increase our overall well-being. If we know bad habits are so detrimental to our health, why do we continue to do them?

The first is the need to feel comfortable and doing whatever it takes to reach this state. Every action you take has a purpose behind it, even if you’re not consciously aware of what this is and the most common hidden purpose is comfort. This is why we continue to indulge in bad habits and find it hard to stop; it feels comfortable and we essentially get to exist in our ‘safe zone’. In other words, you get attracted to the reward despite knowing its bad for you.

Sipping that alcohol causes your brain to associate that habit with freedom and relaxation. So drinking or going overboard with junk foods may be associated with letting yourself go and having a good time after a hard week. The thought of exercising and making some kind of effort is overridden in the brains by the ‘easier’ thought of sitting on the couch and watching your favorite TV program. So you can see how easily the habit is connected with reward.

We also tend to rationalize our bad behaviors if society as a whole finds it acceptable. Trying to validate our bad behaviors to those of others backs up our decisions whether good or bad. However, there are consequences of continuing bad habits, and most become long term consequences to endure. Being mindful of the decisions we make today can keep our wellbeing topped up and constant while investing in our future lives.