Bhargav Sanketi

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When you introspect, you quite easily realize that though it is easy to imagine operating in isolation, the habits of others exert a tremendous impact on you. And so do your habits impact them. Our influence on each other’s habits is a vast subject. And it’s one of the most powerful, sometimes almost irresistible, strategies.

Let’s take a couple for example. In a phenomenon known as “health concordance,” couples’ health habits and statuses tend to merge over time. One partner’s health behaviors and habits related to sleep, diet, exercise, doctor visits, use of alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana, etc significantly influence the habits of their partners. Research has found that if one partner has Type 2 diabetes, the other partner faces a significant increase in the risk of developing it, as well. If one partner gives up cigarettes or alcohol, the other is more likely to quit.

If you are married, think of your habits and behaviors before you met your significant other. You will realize that many of your habits have changed to meet with the needs of your relationship. It can be something as simple as reading multiple books at a time or eating in bed to something as hard as quitting smoking or drinking. Also many of you would have probably started exercising due to your spouse’s unwavering commitment to working out. The things we do for love.

So the next time you wish to cultivate a habit in a family member or make them get off one, try doing the same yourself. Our minds are genetically programmed to fall into the flow or follow patterns. Nurturing this pattern will help make it easier for people to pick up or give up habits and trends.

How about you? Can you think of times when you’ve caught a good or bad habit from someone around you? Or when someone has caught your habit?