What are the 4 stages of habit formation?


Routines serve as the pieces in a jigsaw puzzle of our lives; snapping them together helps create who we are, dictates our behaviors, and determines our outcomes. Learning the levels of forming a habit can be a tool for us to purpose to bring about a positive change and it can also be a thing that is going to liberate us and help us to let out all the potential that we have.

Stage 1: Cue Identification

Specifically for habit formation, the beginning of it comprises cue identification. Recognizing the triggers that cause or cue behaviors to follow is part of the process. Whatever it is: the memory, image, feeling, or even other people in that particular moment, cues start the triggered procedure. Through learning to take notice of our cues, we can introspect on these patterns and observe what makes us feel like falling back on bad habits.

Stage 2: Routine Development

Once we have identified the cues, we move on to the second stage: Scheduling matters in terms of the order of activities. Here is the place where the habit finally molded. This routine, initiated straight away when the cue is established makes it easier for us to form habits. The most important feature of this stage involves repetition which eventually establishes this habit as part of our pattern of behavior.

Stage 3: Reward Reinforcement

As we progress through the habit formation journey, we enter the third stage: secondary reinforcement. When the human brain, which is predisposed to search for rewards and positive feedback, is exhausted, the readiness to work will decline. We break this by linking a good feeling automatically with our habit. This way, we reach the end goal of strengthening the behavior/ habit. This can also be a sheer sense of fulfillment or a tiny treat as an award.

Stage 4: Automatic Integration

After the process of habit formation is done, it continues to the phase called automatic integration. At this point, the action of the habit has become part of our behavior so that our subconscious mind does it.

The fact that it does not have to be mentally stimulated automatically becomes an inseparable part of our habit. Autopilot keeps free brains, so we can synthesize information effectively and receive the best outcomes. Automating is somehow easy, but continuing the habit is essential.


Knowing what stages of habit formation one faces, contributes to the sustenance of change which we have built into our lives. We can accomplish this by establishing pointers, eradicating routines, praising rewards, and finally, arriving at the integration into automaticity that drives us to our goals.

Because behavioral patterns are not locked within a single situation, they can be used to self-improve our lives by incorporating them in a positive one. Join the club! Be wise enough to take into account the four stages of habit formation and discover your true power. Begin now and you’ll see the infinite fruits that it can harvest in your life tomorrow.

About the author


I am a guy who is deeply interested in Self-help, Psychology and Philosophy. To spread the ideas that I have learned over the years I have made this blog. My major goal is to have a positive impact in the society.

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