The key lessons learned from
„The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business„ by Charles Duhigg:
- Habits have a positive and negative side.
- Habits are award loops that make daily routines easier (e.g. open a door). Makes daily tasks more efficient, also for the brain as you don’t need to think about it. 40% of actions every day are habits.
- Every habit has a 3-step loop:
1. External cue or trigger (e.g. waking up)
2. Actual routine (e.g. drink a coffee)
3. Award (good feeling, caffeine)
- Habits have a high probability to stay due to the award at the end (bad & negative habits the same), the brain already anticipates the award (craving)
- Changing a habit:
– you need to replace the routine step with another habit and a similar reward, problems happens when stressful life situations occur (e.g. a family member is really sick)
– focus on key stone habits (provide quick wins and supports other positive changes, e.g. start to do sports -> enhance eating habits -> improve cooking skills)
– willpower is one key stone habit (e.g. make short time sacrifices in order to benefit in the long term), but willpower can decrease over the day, nevertheless willpower can be trained like a muscle
– organizational habits can prevent necessary change (e.g. strict processes in big companies)
- Marketing takes advantage of habits (e.g. fresh fruits at the beginning of supermarket as we buy more unhealthy food later)
- We are responsible for our habits (e.g. gambling vicious circle, we need to get aware of bad habits and change them before they do greater harm)
Sum up: Evaluate your positive and negative habits. Keep your positive habits, and replace your negative habits with good ones. Try to find a routine that has a similar reward.
For more details I can recommend to read the whole book:
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My overall favorite book on habits is: