The Power of Habit

By: Charles Duhigg

 

The Power of Habit is easily one of the most interesting books I've read since it fuses the genres of psychology and self help, two topics which I am greatly interested in. The book uses several relatable real life examples to help explain its main point, which is: understanding the cue, routine, reward pattern. This pattern explains why humans are creatures of habit and how we can trick ourselves to either create or break habits. It explains the underlying 'psychological' cues that exist before we take any action.

 

My favourite exert from the book is the experiment which Duhigg uses to explain this pattern. Mice were put through a routine  experiment in which they would complete a simple task and would receive a reward. Initially their brain activity would spike when receiving the reward (a chunk of cheese), but after some repetition the mice's brain activity would start spiking as they were completing the task instead. This same pattern is also evident in humans and how we react to finishing tasks which are part of our habit loop. For example: a chain smoker will feel the relief of smoking a cigarette just as they pull their pack out, as this is their cue in the cue, routine, reward pattern. I've used this pattern to my benefit by purposely setting cues for myself in order to help develop beneficial habits.

 

An example of a positive habit loop I developed is eating a protein bar before going to the gym, the simple act of consuming a specific food would increase my motivation and help myself get prepared to head to the gym. I found these small experiments very insightful because I had starting noticing all sorts of cues, routines and rewards that I had naturally developed. Reading this book aided me in optimizing certain aspects of my life and motivating myself to accomplish tasks with relative ease.

Is this Book for You?

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys prioritizing self improvement and would enjoy learning about how habit loops can be formed or broken. 

 

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