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Habit vs. Behavior: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 8, 2023
Habit refers to a regular tendency or practice, often done unconsciously. Behavior refers to the way one acts or conducts oneself, especially towards others.

Key Differences

Habit refers to a regular practice or routine that is often performed unconsciously. It is a specific action repeated consistently over time. Behavior, in contrast, encompasses a broader range of actions and reactions that an individual exhibits, influenced by various factors including environment and attitude.
A habit typically forms through repetition and becomes an almost automatic part of one’s routine, like brushing teeth every morning. Behavior is more encompassing and refers to how a person acts in different situations, which can change based on circumstances.
Habits are specific and often ingrained actions, behaviors are more variable and can be influenced by external factors. For example, a habit might be drinking coffee every morning, whereas behavior encompasses all actions a person might take in a day.
Habits can be part of one's overall behavior but do not define it entirely. A person's behavior includes a range of actions and reactions, while a habit is a regular, often unconscious pattern.
Habit is a specific, often automatic, action performed regularly, while behavior is the broader term for how a person acts or reacts, encompassing a wide range of actions.

Comparison Chart


Regular, often unconscious pattern.
Range of actions and reactions.


Specific and consistent.
Broad and variable.


Through repetition and routine.
Influenced by external and internal factors.


Can be ingrained and harder to change.
More adaptable and responsive to situations.


Drinking coffee every morning.
Overall conduct in social situations.

Habit and Behavior Definitions


Habit is a regularly repeated behavior that is ingrained and often unconscious.
Her habit of reading before bed helped her relax.


Behavior denotes the manner in which a person functions or operates.
The child's behavior in school is exemplary.


Habit refers to a customary practice or routine.
Taking a walk after dinner is his daily habit.


Behavior implies the conduct or demeanor of a person.
His aggressive behavior during the debate was noticeable.


Habit is an automatic response developed over time.
She has the habit of checking her email first thing in the morning.


Behavior refers to actions or reactions of an individual under certain circumstances.
Her behavior changes drastically when she is under stress.


Habit denotes a fixed way of doing things, often hard to give up.
He has a habit of biting his nails when nervous.


Behavior is the way an individual acts or conducts themselves.
His polite behavior at the dinner party was commendable.


Habit implies a regular tendency or practice in one’s behavior.
Her habit of organizing her desk at the end of the day kept her workspace tidy.


Behavior is the observable actions of a person, especially towards others.
She received praise for her professional behavior at the meeting.


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


The manner in which one acts or behaves.


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


The actions or reactions of a person or animal in response to external or internal stimuli.


How long does it take to form a habit?

It varies, but it often takes several weeks to months to form a new habit.

Can habits be changed?

Yes, with effort and consistency, habits can be changed.

Are all habits bad?

No, habits can be either beneficial or detrimental, depending on their nature.

Is a habit conscious or unconscious?

Habits usually start as conscious actions but can become unconscious over time.

What is a habit?

A habit is a routine or practice performed regularly, often unconsciously.

How is a habit formed?

A habit is formed through repeated actions over time until it becomes automatic.

Can habits affect health?

Yes, habits can significantly impact physical and mental health.

How to break a bad habit?

Identify triggers, replace with a positive habit, and remain consistent.

What is behavior?

Behavior refers to the actions or reactions of a person or animal in response to external or internal stimuli.

What's an example of a good habit?

Regular exercise is an example of a good habit.

Is behavior always conscious?

No, behavior can be both conscious and unconscious.

Can behavior be inherited?

Some behaviors can be influenced by genetics, but environment also plays a crucial role.

What influences human behavior?

Genetics, environment, culture, and personal experiences influence human behavior.

What is an example of instinctive behavior?

A baby’s reflex to grasp a finger is an instinctive behavior.

Is aggressive behavior natural?

Aggression can be a natural response, but its expression is influenced by various factors.

How is social behavior important?

Social behavior is crucial for building relationships and functioning in society.

Are habits linked to addiction?

Some habits can lead to addiction, especially if they involve addictive substances or behaviors.

How does behavior differ from habit?

Behavior is a broader term and can be a one-time action, whereas a habit is a repeated behavior.

How can behavior be modified?

Through various techniques like positive reinforcement, therapy, or conditioning.

Can behavior predict personality?

Behavior can offer insights into personality, but it's not always a definitive predictor.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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