Habits in everyday life: Thought, emotion, and action

Wendy Wood, Jeffrey M. Quinn, Deborah A. Kashy
2002 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology  
To illustrate the differing thoughts and emotions involved in guiding habitual and nonhabitual behavior, 2 diary studies were conducted in which participants provided hourly reports of their ongoing experiences. When participants were engaged in habitual behavior, defined as behavior that had been performed almost daily in stable contexts, they were likely to think about issues unrelated to their behavior, presumably because they did not have to consciously guide their actions. When engaged in
more » ... onhabitual behavior, or actions performed less often or in shifting contexts, participants' thoughts tended to correspond to their behavior, suggesting that thought was necessary to guide action. Furthermore, the self-regulatory benefits of habits were apparent in the lesser feelings of stress associated with habitual than nonhabitual behavior.
doi:10.1037//0022-3514.83.6.1281 pmid:12500811 fatcat:edpdn3bhrrbxnnb2fetfazu6va