The main three parts of Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habits are the awareness of the Habit loop, Golden rule of habit change and Keystone habits.
The Habit loop consists of a cue, routine and a reward that governs habits. A cue triggers a specific habit reaction or a chosen routine that would then lead to a reward. They are rewards because brains tend to remember and hold onto good feelings. Once this stage is comprehended it would be easier to change a habit.
Cue and reward are not triggered until a sense of craving comes. A craving is usually what drives into the action of habits. It is responsible for destroying and creating old and new habits, respectively. One interesting story in the book talked about the company, Procter and Gamble and how they formed Febreze. Febreze was originally unscented and instead was used to rid of foul smells. The product was not selling and eventually the company realize this was because people were not aware of their own scent. In order to fix this issue they instead started scenting the Febreze air fresheners and used the nice smell of their home as the reward. They promoted it targeting housewives to spray in their home after a long day of cleaning. The inhaling of a nice scent is the cue and reward. That craving is what connected the cue and reward.
Once the habit loop is understood, moving forward to the golden rule of habit change would be easier for a host. It helps create or replace new habits and stop bad or more specifically bad addictive habits. The chapter mentions to keep the same habit loop but with a different routine. For example, people usually smoke because it gives them a feeling of relaxation and to relieve stress. So stress would be the cue, smoking is the routine and feeling calm is the reward. In order to modify this habit, Duhigg advices to change the routine therefore the host would have to find something else that relieves their stress. Another thing to note is that a host must believe in change and have the willpower to continue going through it or else it would not be a successful transition from a bad habit to a good one. For one to succeed, they must have faith.
Keystone habits are habits that are able to influence or trigger other habits. The story of Paul O’Neil and how he made his company Alcoa successful through prioritizing and promoting a safe work environment for his workers. He says that “If I could start disrupting the habits around one thing, it would spread throughout the entire company.” O’Neil noticed that many workers would get injured so badly that they would miss so many days of work. In order to do this, he observed any errors in the work environment that could possibly lead to the workers’ getting injured and then he changed them for their safety. After that, he wrote new policies for his workers and asked the workers about what else they think should change so that it would lessen the number of people getting injured and make their job more efficient. The reason he focused on the safety of work environment is so that his workers would not miss as much days and would be able to have more done and work more efficiently. This proved to work when his profits doubled within a year. He changed one thing and then another thing like a domino effect and it worked as he was able to make Alcoa grow into something worth 27 billion dollars.
Going into this I always considered habits to be mostly good and addictions to be mostly bad but they are what you make them out to be and what your willpower can handle. Duhigg’s The Power of Habit helps people understand how to have self discipline, willpower, and faith, not just how to develop habits. But it does, most of all, help to show how developing good and positive habits can be used not just in personal life but with every decision and step of life we make as we live through the world.
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