Book review: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Book review: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

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You have control over everything that you do, right? Well you might and you might not…

I listened to this great book recently. Some powerful stuff about how habits are created and how powerful they can be. It explains why change is so hard since we’re technically hard wired to follow our habits. It makes life so much easier for us but also makes it that much harder to change those ingrained habits.

Most of us know what we should be doing in our day-to-day to better ourselves but the problem is actually doing it. We can be good for a few days in our new diet or running program but then the wheels fall off. This book looks at the science of habits and why a lot of people don’t succeed in changing their habits.

Have you ever noticed your morning routine? Why is it so? Is it the best way to start the day? If not, there is hope!

The book sheds some light about the habit loop; like everything, the more you know about it, the better you are equipped to do something about it.

He looks at it in four steps:

  1. Identify the Routine: What is the your current routine you want to change?
  2. Experiment With Rewards: You want to create a reward since it’s how our brains are wired, we’re very similar to rats in fact. If you’re trying to lose weight maybe an extra dessert is not the best reward. What about a new outfit when you reach your next milestone or a trip to the spa? You want to associate the reward with something positive so it provides an incentive for your new actions.
  3. Isolate the Cue: What triggers the behaviour? What time/place/emotion?
  4. Have a Plan: How will you replace your current routine. Avoidance is simple being blind to the fact it will happen again. Rather, try to figure out a better way to handle the situation so that can become your new standard (habit). Replacing the habit with a better habit is the key.

Here is a good illustration about how it works:

 

 

 

 

 

 

He also looks at how keystone habits, small habits that have a huge impact down the road. It seems physical fitness is one of those habits for people. If you’re consciously active, it helps your self-esteem, your productivity and your health. Who knew?

I highly recommend this book to everyone who wants to change. With this knowledge, you can set up a plan so you succeed. You don’t have to simply rely on willpower. We all know that doesn’t always work!

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