Habits have a purpose. They save the brain from work. It’s really quite extraordinary that the brain created habits at all. Habits are the byproduct of advanced human evolution. Habits are, in a very real sense, the reason humans are at the top of the food chain. By isolating certain repetitive functions to a very small, almost fractional area, the brain freed itself to expand and perform higher level functions. This expansion gave birth to toolmaking, then speech and finally cooperation; humans working together for a single purpose.
Physiologically, habits are a series of interconnected neural pathways connected along the neural fibers underneath the neocortex to a central neural hub inside the Basal Ganglia. The moment a neural pathway becomes linked to the Basal Ganglia, it is magically transformed by the brain into a permanent habit. According to a famous London study performed on 89 people, this process can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days, depending on the complexity of the behavior forming the habit. The more complex the behavior, such as washing your face verses swinging a golf club, the more time it takes for the habit to form.
In another study on habits (Duke University in 2006) it was determined that an average of 40% of all daily human activities are habits. These daily habits unconsciously control our lives. Your daily habits, as boring as they may be, are the secret to success, failure or mediocrity. Our behaviors, the choices we make, our thinking, our habits are the cause of wealth and poverty. Those who learned good daily habits from their parents, a mentor or through the school of hard knocks, excel in life. Their lives are outstanding. They rule the world. They command respect, make most of the money in this world, and control the lives of millions who do not have good daily habits.
From the research I gathered in my five year study of the daily habits of the rich and poor I can say unequivocally that your daily habits are the reason you are rich or poor. Your daily habits are the reason you live in a beach house or a slum. Your daily habits are the reason you make millions of dollars a year or eke out a living and are forced to live paycheck to paycheck. Your daily habits are the reason you are happy or unhappy. Your daily habits are the reason your children go to the best colleges or struggle to graduate from high school. The blueprint of your life and the lives of your children are determined by daily habits. That’s how important habits are. If you want to change your life you must change your daily habits.