The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Habits are a part of everyone’s lives, and not everyone understands them completely. Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit,” helps us understand why habits exist, their reasoning, and how they can be changed. Throughout the book, it provides information, scientific discoveries, and real-life examples and routines, as well as their outcomes. The book is divided into three parts: the impact of habits on habits on one’s personal life, within society, and within organizations. It also contains information on techniques that can help us understand our habits better and how we can alter them.
Within the book, Duhigg explains and helps us understand habits. He explains that they work in three-step loops: cue, routine, and reward. He explains that the cue is what triggers you to do a habit. The routine is the behavior you engage in, following the cue. Finally, the reward is what you receive after completion of the routine. About 40% of the time, you do not realize you are completing habits – your body is in autopilot. In order for us to understand our habits and why we do what we do, we need to observe the cues and rewards. This being said, when and if we do, we can then change the routines making them easier to control.
Personally, I really enjoyed the book as a whole, and would recommend it. It was an easy read, and made me think. That is something I truly appreciate. Although I enjoyed many parts of the book, and the narratives included within, there was one quote that stuck with me throughout. Charles Duhigg states, “The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do” (Duhigg, 2012). This quote made me realize that you have the power to change anything in your life, if you set your mind to it. No matter what happens, how many setbacks you may encounter, etc., you still have the power to change who you are, in order to become what you want to be. Duhigg also speaks on behalf of willpower and the habit behind it. Willpower is a form of self-control, either pushing you to do something, or pushing you to restrain impulses. Within the book, there is a chapter on Starbucks. It talks about the benefits of being an employee there, what the corporation has to offer, and so forth. It then talks about a troubled young man, who got hired to work in one of the stores. He grew up in a broken home, and faced personal struggles such as temper, self-discipline, etc. Starbucks provided training sessions, in which they provided tips and helpful information for particular situations. In the end, it bettered the young man’s self-control, temper, and taught him better ways of handling things. Dealing with a difficult customer can be triggering, but it takes a lot to stay in control and not lash out. This is a perfect example of willpower.
Relation to Class:
As mentioned in the lecture slides, impulsivity, willpower, and self-control usually come hand-in-hand. Impulsivity is making decisions on impulse, or without any thought behind the decision. While self-control is not an issue of willpower, it is an issue of conflicting outcomes. Like I mentioned in the section labeled my favorite part, willpower is a form of self-control, either pushing you to do something, or pushing you to restrain impulses. Making impulsive decisions, maintaining self-control and self-management, and having a strong sense of willpower are all things dealt with on the daily. They are very important aspects of life, and sometimes people forget that.
For this particular section, I found a few websites which can help:
- https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/good-thinking/201306/how-boost-your-willpower : This website provides tips on how one can strengthen their willpower.
- http://www.willpowered.co/learn/strengthen-your-willpower : This website provides 10 simple exercises that will strengthen your willpower.
-This video is a ted talk called “The Science of Willpower: Kelly McGonigal.” She is a Stanford psychologist, and talks about the biggest myths of willpower and how rethinking self-control can help one reach goals and make difficult changes.
Extension:I firmly believe this book has impacted my life tremendously. As a college student, I deal with the struggles of procrastination, being too lazy to eat right and workout, and not getting enough sleep. Things like that really affect my life and my ability to complete tasks to the best of my ability. But now knowing what I know about habits, and how they can be changed by simply changing the routine, I hope to put this in action. If I start from the beginning of the school year, and create healthy and efficient patterns in my life, I can and will see improvements not only within my academic work, but in my mental health.
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