The Power of Habit
Why We Do What We Do and How to Change IteBook - 2012
"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.
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The book contends that basis of most of our actions are based off of this pattern. Cue-response-reward. When repeated enough these patterns are ingrained into us and become habits. The book contends in chapter 3 that we can't eliminate habits, only replace them. To do this you identify the cue, replace with a new action, and then are rewarded. For example if you have a cookie everyday at 3 PM, you instead go for a walk, you have replaced the bad habit. At the end of the book he explains how to change a habit. 1. Identify the routine 2. experiment with different rewards 3. Isolate the cue 4. Develop a plan to have alternatives somewhere in the path.
Common Cues are: location, time, emotional state, other people, immediately proceeding actions. Experiment (failures will provide feedback) until you change your habit.
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