The Power of Habit

POWER

March’s business book is “The Power of Habit. Why we do what we do in life and business.” by Charles Duhigg. This is one of those books that has been haunting me for awhile – you know the one – you see it in bookstores, at the library, and hear about it online. I finally took the plunge and devoured it last month and it was worth every moment. Duhigg tells the story of our habits in snippets of science discoveries, personal anecdotes, and other academic research in a highly engaging way.

I finally took the plunge and devoured the book’s 363 pages last month and it was worth every moment. Duhigg tells the story of our habits in snippets of science discoveries, personal anecdotes, and other academic research in a highly engaging way. He told the story so well, in fact, that I am now 1/3 through his next book “Smarter, Faster, Better” but more on that one later. He firmly believes that willpower is a learnable skill and once learned it becomes a habit and second nature. For me, the verdict is still out, but I love the premises and want to prove Duhigg correct.

“The truth is the brain can be reprogrammed. You just have to be deliberate about it.” 

The Power of Habit can be all too simplified down into the follow pattern we all fall into, we have a cue that triggers a routine that elicits a reward. In the most relatable terms to me, he talks about a 3 pm sugar fix at the office. Guilty. But Duhigg goes into the reasons behind the success of fabreeze, alcoholics anonymous, football coaches, sleepwalking murderers and the Starbucks culture. The stories are quite enlightening and really well told and very applicable to anyone trying to rid themselves of a bad habit (3 pm chocolate for me) and incorporate a new routine (food preparation, exercises, prioritization at work, and the list goes on).

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“The evidence is clear: if you want to change a habit, you must find an alternate routine, and your odds of success go up dramatically when you commit to changing as part of a group.”

Duhigg also stresses the importance of small wins in goal setting and how they work together to make a big impact on a much bigger goal. I’ve been using the phrase “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time” for years so I liked the reinforcement.

“…almost all other patterns that exist… how we eat, sleep, talk…spend money – those are the habits we know exist. And once you understand that habits can change, you have the freedom – and the responsibility – to remake them. Once you understand that habits can be rebuilt, the power of habit becomes easier to grasp, and the only option left is to get to work.”

How can you not love this guy?

There is no doubt that “The Power of Habit” will remain in my permanent library collection, and I highly recommend picking this book up if you have any sort of habit you want to rid, some great insight into creating a better routine or if you just want to read some entertaining – yet scientific – stories on human behaviour.

Enjoy!

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