The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Published by Doubleday Canada on February 28th 2012
Genres: Social Science, General, Self-Help, Personal Growth
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Groundbreaking new research shows that by grabbing hold of the three-step "loop" all habits form in our brains--cue, routine, reward--we can change them, giving us the power to take control over our lives. "We are what we repeatedly do," said Aristotle. "Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." On the most basic level, a habit is a simple neurological loop: there is a cue (my mouth feels gross), a routine (hello, Crest), and a reward (ahhh, minty fresh). Understanding this loop is the key to exercising regularly or becoming more productive at work or tapping into reserves of creativity. Marketers, too, are learning how to exploit these loops to boost sales; CEOs and coaches are using them to change how employees work and athletes compete. As this book shows, tweaking even one habit, as long as it's the right one, can have staggering effects. In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes readers inside labs where brain scans record habits as they flourish and die; classrooms in which students learn to boost their willpower; and boardrooms where executives dream up products that tug on our deepest habitual urges. Full of compelling narratives that will appeal to fans of Michael Lewis, Jonah Lehrer, and Chip and Dan Heath, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: our most basic actions are not the product of well-considered decision making, but of habits we often do not realize exist. By harnessing this new science, we can transform our lives.
I first read this book years ago but upon re-reading it I realized that not a lot stuck with me. I actually forgot all about the habit loop and have been trying some drastic changes by sheer willpower. Willpower is great but it gets depleted and then I catch myself falling back into old habits. Like I will stay on my eating plan and exercise than after a few weeks I will stumble and oh my god my willpower goes out the damn window. After re-reading this book though I can see how that approach would fail me.
The big thing is the habit loop. I used to smoke and there are still times I will sneak a cig here and there. Mostly it is when I am at my desk for long stretches of time and I feel as if I need a “break” so I would smoke. After Reading The Power of Habit I can see that I am really craving a break and instead of powering on through as my willpower slowly fades away I should do something like mediate or something healthy to take a break with. A book I read back in November the Keto Diet actually had some very good suggestions on how and what to do to take breaks. I am trying the whole mediation thingie (I use Headspace for this). It seems to be working really well for me. So the cue is the same (feeling bored) instead of a cigarette I meditate and the reward (feeling refreshed and able to focus) is still the same
I found Power of Habit utterly enthralling the second time around. It went into depth about how companies get people to buy and use their products. I had no idea they added stuff to toothpaste to give u that tingly feeling. My first thought was that a doing chemicals to something such as toothpaste cant be all good but OK. I actually did not mind it so much until a friend told me that they used crushed up insects in toothpaste and now I am too grossed out to ever use regular toothpaste ever again. I should make her buy my Young Living toothpaste for me for the rest of my life.
The Power of Habit also went into detail on how change occurs in society through habits. That part of the book was fascinating I loved reading how the civil rights movement took off.
This book also gave me hope in that I will beat my bad habits sooner or later. I mean if I keep trying it has to stick right? I used the habit loop to quit smoking. I get the urge to smoke and instead of smoking, i will get tea or coffee. Sometimes I will even take my tea or coffee outside with the other smokers and pretend I am having a cig. I realized that I mostly craved human interaction when I had to go outside and smoke and I can get the same thing with tea or coffee.I understand now that my urges to overeating and smoking and sitting my lazy ass on the couch will never completely go away but in time new habits will emerge and start to take shape. I just have to figure out how to implement the habit loop for things such as working out.