Habits are formed by outsourcing control of the behavior to the context you’re in. In other words, “people who have healthy habits do so automatically,” says Wendy Wood, Provost Professor of Psychology and Business at the University of Southern California. “What you want to have happen is that people behave in this same automatic way.” For example, when you see a red light, you automatically put your foot on the brake. The goal is to help patients behave in the same way when it comes to their health.
From the NEJM Catalyst event Patient Engagement: Behavioral Strategies for Better Health at the University of Pennsylvania, February 25, 2016. Watch Part 2 of Wood’s talk: What’s Advertising Got to Do with It?