The Foundations of Habit Building (Video + PDF)

optimal living Nov 06, 2019

Habit building is essential for us to build lasting change and shape the personality we seek to become. In this class we delve into the fundamentals of habit building and the practical ways we can install new positive habits and uninstall the negative ones.. 

  1. What Are Habits?

Habits are the actions that we consistently and often routinely do. Our habits form our personality and the self image we have about ourselves. Whatever your identity is right now, you only believe it because you have proof of it.

In Hebrew habits are called Hergel- הרגל, coming from the root word רגל- foot.

When we give charity, the Sefer Hachinuch (Barcelona, Spain 1300’s) says that one should give in increments, thereby building the nature of kindness.

How long do habits take to install or undo?

Research says that it takes 30 days in order to install or undue a habit. The Talmud says that when there is a change in the mentioning of the winter or summer in the daily prayer service, one can assume that they said the correct prayer after 30 days. Whereas before that, there is a probability that they erred in their mention sure they correctly indeed said it.

Experts say that the first week of installing or uninstalling the habit is usually excruciatingly difficult. The second week gets little easier. The third week progressively easier. While on the last week it is almost ingrained.

Place, Time, Person

When we repeat the same actions by associating a place and a time we connect connect the action to tangibility.  When we further associate the action with a person, even ourselves, in how we show up, we give the desired habit a strengthened loop of success.


Rituals are an extremely powerful aspect of the human experience. When our actions are bound to rituals, we connect the action with our higher powers, thereby reinforcing the action.

Even mundane actions can be done as a ritual.


2. Who Do I Want To Become?

The core habit building is becoming someone and having the desire and willpower to do so.

This is why we often find young people who are open to change, while older people often are not amenable to change. In their mind, older people have already reached their plateau, or feel that they can not change.

Ultimately, your habits matter because they help you become the type of person you wish to be. They are the channel through which you develop your deepest beliefs about yourself. Quite literally, you become your habits. They are about becoming someone.

Willpower- Ratzon

When people start habitually exercising, even as infrequently as once a week, they start changing other, unrelated patterns in their lives, often unknowingly. Typically, people who exercise start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. It’s not completely clear why. But for many people, exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change. “Exercise spills over,” said James Prochaska, a University of Rhode Island researcher. “There’s something about it that makes other good habits easier.”

As people strengthened their willpower muscles in one part of their lives—in the gym, or a money management program—that strength spilled over into what they ate or how hard they worked. Once willpower became stronger, it touched everything.

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