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Habit vs. Routine: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on January 5, 2024
A habit is a regular behavior often done subconsciously, while a routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed.
Habit vs. Routine

Key Differences

A habit is a behavior that becomes automatic through repetition, often without conscious thought. Routines are structured sequences of actions performed regularly but may require conscious effort and planning.
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Jan 05, 2024
Habits can be flexible, manifesting in various contexts, like biting nails when anxious. Routines are more rigid, following a specific sequence, like a morning routine of exercise, showering, and breakfast.
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Habits are deeply ingrained and can be challenging to change, as they're often linked to triggers and rewards in our brain. Routines, while habitual, are easier to alter as they're based on a conscious schedule or plan.
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Habits often serve an emotional or psychological need, such as comfort or stress relief. Routines are designed to provide structure and efficiency to one's day or to achieve specific goals.
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A habit might be drinking coffee every morning without thinking, while a routine could involve a series of steps taken each morning to prepare for the day, which includes making coffee.
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Comparison Chart

Definition

An automatic behavior developed through repetition
A structured sequence of actions regularly followed
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Conscious Effort

Often subconscious
Requires conscious effort to establish
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Flexibility

Can occur in various contexts
Typically follows a specific sequence
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Changeability

Harder to change due to psychological factors
Easier to alter or adapt
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Purpose

Serves emotional or psychological needs
Provides structure and efficiency
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Habit and Routine Definitions

Habit

A regularly repeated behavior that is often unconscious.
His habit of drumming his fingers on the table was unconscious and persistent.
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Dec 28, 2023

Routine

A regular and fixed program of activities.
Her morning routine included yoga, a shower, and a healthy breakfast.
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Habit

An automatic response to a specific situation or context.
She had a habit of checking her phone every time it beeped.
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Routine

A predictable pattern of behavior.
The teacher's routine in the classroom included a warm-up activity and a lesson review.
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Habit

A behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition.
Taking a walk after dinner soon became a daily habit for him.
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Routine

A sequence of actions regularly followed.
His bedtime routine of reading for an hour helped him unwind.
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Habit

A customary practice or usual way of behaving.
His morning habit of reading the newspaper seemed like a ritual.
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Routine

A set of customary or unchanging and often mechanically performed activities or procedures
A routine of housework.
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Dec 27, 2023

Habit

A recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition
Made a habit of going to bed early.
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Dec 27, 2023

Routine

The practice of such activities or procedures
"Routine had caused stagnation" (Garry Wills).
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Habit

An established disposition of the mind or character
A pessimistic habit.
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Routine

A scripted piece of entertainment, especially in a nightclub or theater
The audience laughed at the comedian's routine.
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Habit

Customary manner or practice
An early riser by habit.
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Routine

(Slang) A particular kind of behavior or activity
Must you go into your hurt routine when you don't get your way?.
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Habit

An addiction, especially to a narcotic drug.
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Routine

(Computers) A set of programming instructions designed to perform a specific limited task.
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Habit

Characteristic appearance, form, or manner of growth, especially of a plant or crystal
"The habit of an apple tree is fine for the small garden" (Robert Dash).
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Dec 27, 2023

Routine

In accord with established procedure
A routine check of passports.
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Habit

A distinctive set of clothing or style of dressing, especially of a religious order.
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Routine

Habitual; regular
Made his routine trip to the store.
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Habit

A riding habit.
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Routine

Having no special quality; ordinary
A routine day.
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Habit

(Archaic) Physical constitution.
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Routine

A course of action to be followed regularly; a standard procedure.
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Habit

To clothe; dress.
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Routine

A set of normal procedures, often performed mechanically.
Connie was completely robotic and emotionless by age 12; her entire life had become one big routine.
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Habit

To clothe in a habit, especially a nun's habit.
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Routine

A set piece of an entertainer's act.
Stand-up comedy routine
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Habit

An action performed on a regular basis.
It’s become a habit of mine to have a cup of coffee after dinner.
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Routine

(computing) A set of instructions designed to perform a specific task; a subroutine.
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Habit

An action performed repeatedly and automatically, usually without awareness.
By force of habit, he dressed for work even though it was holiday.
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Routine

According to established procedure.
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Habit

A long piece of clothing worn by monks and nuns.
It’s interesting how Catholic and Buddhist monks both wear habits.
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Routine

Regular; habitual.
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Habit

A piece of clothing worn for a specific activity; a uniform.
The new riding habits of the team looked smashing!
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Dec 27, 2023

Routine

Ordinary with nothing to distinguish it from all the others.
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Dec 27, 2023

Habit

(archaic) Outward appearance; attire; dress.
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Routine

A round of business, amusement, or pleasure, daily or frequently pursued; especially, a course of business or offical duties regularly or frequently returning.
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Habit

Form of growth or general appearance and structure of a variety or species of plant or crystal.
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Routine

Any regular course of action or procedure rigidly adhered to by the mere force of habit.
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Habit

An addiction.
He has a 10-cigar habit.
Kick the habit
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Routine

An unvarying or habitual method of procedure
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Habit

(transitive) To clothe.
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Routine

A short theatrical performance that is part of a longer program;
He did his act three times every evening
She had a catchy little routine
It was one of the best numbers he ever did
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Habit

To inhabit.
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Routine

A set sequence of steps, part of larger computer program
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Habit

The usual condition or state of a person or thing, either natural or acquired, regarded as something had, possessed, and firmly retained; as, a religious habit; his habit is morose; elms have a spreading habit; esp., physical temperament or constitution; as, a full habit of body.
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Routine

Occurring at fixed times or predictable intervals;
Made her routine trip to the store
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Habit

The general appearance and manner of life of a living organism.
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Routine

Found in the ordinary course of events;
A placid everyday scene
It was a routine day
There's nothing quite like a real...train conductor to add color to a quotidian commute
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Habit

Fixed or established custom; ordinary course of conduct; practice; usage; hence, prominently, the involuntary tendency or aptitude to perform certain actions which is acquired by their frequent repetition; as, habit is second nature; also, peculiar ways of acting; characteristic forms of behavior.
A man of very shy, retired habits.
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Routine

A customary or regular course of procedure.
The weekly staff meeting was part of their office routine.
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Habit

Outward appearance; attire; dress; hence, a garment; esp., a closely fitting garment or dress worn by ladies; as, a riding habit.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy.
There are, among the statues, several of Venus, in different habits.
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Routine

A set of normal procedures, often habitual.
Following a strict routine helped her manage her busy schedule effectively.
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Habit

The distinctive clothing worn commonly by nuns or monks; as, in the late 1900's many orders of nuns discarded their habits and began to dress as ordinary lay women.
How use doth breed a habit in a man!
He who reigns . . . upheld by old repute,Consent, or custom
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Dec 27, 2023

Habit

To inhabit.
In thilke places as they [birds] habiten.
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Habit

To dress; to clothe; to array.
They habited themselves like those rural deities.
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Dec 27, 2023

Habit

To accustom; to habituate.
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Habit

An established custom;
It was their habit to dine at 7 every evening
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Habit

A pattern of behavior acquired through frequent repetition;
She had a habit twirling the ends of her hair
Long use had hardened him to it
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023

Habit

(religion) a distinctive attire (as the costume of a religious order)
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Habit

Excessive use of drugs
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Habit

Put a habit on
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Habit

An ingrained practice or tendency in one's behavior.
Biting her nails was a habit she struggled to break.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What defines a habit?

A habit is a behavior that becomes automatic through frequent repetition.
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Jan 05, 2024

Are habits always negative?

No, habits can be either beneficial or detrimental.
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What is a routine?

A routine is a structured sequence of actions that one regularly follows.
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Jan 05, 2024

How does a habit differ from a routine?

A habit is often subconscious, while a routine requires conscious planning and execution.
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Can routines vary in complexity?

Yes, routines can range from simple to complex sequences of actions.
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Can a routine become a habit?

Yes, routines can evolve into habits through consistent practice.
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What is the purpose of a routine?

Routines provide structure and efficiency in daily life.
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What role does conscious thought play in routines?

Routines typically require conscious thought to establish and follow.
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Why are habits hard to break?

Habits are hard to break due to their subconscious nature and the brain's reward system.
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How long does it take to form a habit?

It varies, but it often takes several weeks to months to form a new habit.
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How can one establish a new routine?

By planning and consistently following a set of actions.
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Is it easier to change a habit or a routine?

It's generally easier to change a routine than a habit.
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Are there tools to help build routines?

Yes, various tools like planners and apps can aid in establishing routines.
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Jan 05, 2024

Can routines help in forming good habits?

Yes, routines can be effective in developing positive habits.
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Jan 05, 2024

Do habits always involve physical actions?

No, habits can also be mental or emotional patterns.
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Jan 05, 2024

What impact do habits have on lifestyle?

Habits significantly influence one's lifestyle and daily choices.
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Jan 05, 2024

Can breaking routines be beneficial?

Yes, changing routines can introduce new perspectives and improvements.
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Jan 05, 2024

How do habits reflect personal tendencies?

Habits often reflect an individual's personality and coping mechanisms.
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What's the role of discipline in maintaining routines?

Discipline is crucial for maintaining and adhering to routines.
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Can routines be both daily and long-term?

Yes, routines can be established for daily activities or long-term goals.
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Jan 05, 2024

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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