Friday Book in a Page: The Power of Habit

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

If you’re looking to get more out of your day, your month, your year - heck, your life - you are going to want to understand that creating habits and routinizing many aspects of your life if one of the keys to get you there.  In The Power of Habit, Duhigg walks you through the process of creating and developing the habits that will create and sustain the life that you are looking to build.  This is an essential read for entrepreneurs.

Key Messages of the Book:

  • Once we change tasks that first require concentration into effortless habits we conserve mental energy.  Once you break any task into the three-part loop of cue-routine-reward you can turn it into a habit.
    • Cue - the signal
    • Routine - what you do
    • Reward - why you do it
  • In order to build effective habits, we need to consciously build out from the rewards that we want to have in life and create routines that support them.

i.e. you can stop asking yourself if you feel like exercising every morning if it has become a habit

  • Because of where the cue-routine-reward loop lives in your brain (the basal ganglia), it is incredibly hard to break once established.  This is good and bad.
  • In order to change a ‘bad habit’ you will be more successful if you replace it with an alternate routine rather than just try to stop the bad habit cue-routine-reward loop
  • For example, if your loop looks like:  cue - the work day is finished  Routine - you have a drink  Reward - you feel relaxed, you would replace it with something that looks like:  Cue - the work day is finished  Routine - go for a run  Reward - you feel relaxed.
  • Identify which habits are the keystone habits in your life and work to create and manage those.
  • Keystone habits are those that have a positive spillover effect to other areas of your life.  (Duhigg found that increasing willpower is the keystone habit of keystone habits).
  • Organizations also create habits.  As a leader you need to understand the habits that are being created and ensure they are in line with your bigger organization goals and vision.
  • The marketing department can go through extensive amounts of consumer data to understand, replicate and then cater to consumers’ habits.

Understand what results you want to create in your life and build habits to support them.

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