The power of habit – Charles Duhigg

Only read chapters 1-5. The rest of the book is an endless page filling amount of examples with some nuggets of information. Mainly a history of advertising and habit changing.

There’s nothing you can’t do if you get the habits right.

This process within our brains is a three-step loop. First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use.Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is
worth remembering for the future:

The problem is that your brain can’t tell the difference between bad and good habits

Eugene was exposed to a cue: a pair of objects always presented in the same combination. There was a routine: He would choose one object and look to see if there was a sticker underneath, even if he had no idea why he felt compelled to turn the cardboard
over. Then there was a reward: the satisfaction he received after finding a sticker proclaiming “correct.” Eventually, a habit loop emerged.

It was like, once it started, he had to finish the frustration,” she said.

Habits are powerful, but delicate. They can emerge outside our consciousness, or can be deliberately designed. They often occur without our permission, but can be reshaped by fiddling with their parts. They shape our lives far more than we realize—they are so strong, in fact, that they cause our brains to cling to them at the exclusion of all else, including
common sense.

So what, exactly, did Hopkins do? He created a craving. And that craving, it turns out, is what makes cues and rewards work. That craving is what powers the habit loop

They are more likely to stick with a workout plan if they choose a specific cue, such as running as soon as they get home from work, and a clear reward, such as a beer or an evening of guilt-free television.

They focused on the craving for that reward when temptations arose, cultivated the craving into a mild obsession. And their cravings for that reward, researchers found, crowded out the temptation to drop the diet. The craving drove the habit loop

Rather, to change a habit, you must keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine.

It seems ridiculously simple, but once you’re aware of how your habit works, once you recognize the cues and rewards, you’re halfway to changing it, Carry around an index card, and each time you feel the cue—a tension in your fingertips—make a check mark on the card.

you can easily find another routine—such as taking a quick walk, or giving yourself three minutes on the Internet—that provides the same interruption Understanding the cues and cravings driving your habits won’t make them suddenly disappear—but it will give you a way to plan how to change the pattern

The final ingredient is belief. Believing in the value of the change and feeling the importance of it.

Self-discipline predicted academic performance more robustly
than did IQ. Self-discipline also predicted which students would improve their grades over the course of the school year, whereas IQ did not

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