When behaviors are repeated in a consistent context, there is an incremental increase in the link between the context and the action. This increases the
Habit formation is the process by which a behavior, through regular repetition, becomes automatic or habitual. This is modelled as an increase in automaticity with number of repetitions up to an
As the habit is forming, it can be analysed in three parts: the cue, the behavior, and the reward. The cue is the thing that causes the habit to come about, the trigger of the habitual behavior. This could be anything that one's mind associates with that habit and one will automatically let a habit come to the surface. The behavior is the actual habit that one exhibits, and the reward, a positive feeling, therefore continues the "habit loop". A habit may initially be triggered by a goal, but over time that goal becomes less necessary and the habit becomes more automatic.
A variety of digital tools, online or mobile apps, have been introduced that are designed to support habit formation. For example, Habitica is a system that uses
Shopping habits are particularly vulnerable to change at "major life moments" like graduation, marriage, birth of first child, moving to a new home, and divorce. Some stores use purchase data to try to detect these events and take advantage of the marketing opportunity.
Some habits are known as "keystone habits", and these influence the formation of other habits. For example, identifying as the type of person who takes care of their body and is in the habit of exercising regularly, can also influence eating better and using credit cards less. In business, safety can be a keystone habit that influences other habits that result in greater productivity.
A recent study by Adriaanse et al. (2014) found that habits mediate the relationship between self-control and unhealthy snack consumption. The results of the study empirically demonstrate that high-self control may influence the formation of habits and in turn affect behavior.