Have you tried breaking old habits or forming new ones and failed? Do not worry you are not alone. People will tell you that the hardest thing they have had to do is break or form a habit. But this can be a thing of the past if you take time to read and understand how habits work.
In his book, The Power of Habits Charles Duhigg explains everything you need to know about habits. This book has been featured in many New York Times bestseller lists. Charles Duhigg is an award-winning author, and therefore you can expect a page-turner with great takeaways.
This Power of Habit summary discusses the book in a glimpse to give you a quick overview of what you will learn from this bestseller.
PART 1: THE HABITS OF INDIVIDUALS
The Habit Loop – this chapter explains how habits work. A habit goes through three steps; the cue, the routine, and reward. The cue is what triggers you to perform the action. The routine is how you to do the action, and the reward is what you get from carrying it out. Without this habit loop, you will have to make decisions on all aspects of your life each time.
The brain, therefore, takes the shortcut and records a habit loop for you to follow. The next time you have to do the same thing again, your brain goes into autopilot. Actually, Duhigg states that 40% of everything you do in a day is done through habits, in autopilot.
The Craving Brain – a craving is what causes a habit to form. The craving is for the reward you will get at the end of the cue. So when your brain craves the reward, your mind puts you in autopilot, and you carry out the habit.
The craving, therefore, is what powers the habit. You can overcome your craving by silencing the cues. To change your habits, you should actively think of the reward so you can stop craving it because you stop anticipating it so much.
The Golden Rule of Habit Change – the golden rule to changing habits is to keep the same cue and the same reward but change the routine. It is the routine that you really want to change because the cues and the cravings might always be around you. This is what is done for alcoholics and other people who want to break a really ingrained habit.
PART 2: THE HABITS OF SUCCESSFUL ORGANISATIONS
Keystone Habits or the Ballad of Paul O’Neill – when trying to develop habits, successful organizations focus on the habits that have a ripple effect. Changing just one habit can cause many other habits to change naturally. This is what O’Neill to increase the profitability of Alcoa a company he was managing.
Some habits are more important than others and therefore to get the maximum effect from the habit changing process, focus on those habits first.
Starbucks and the Habits of Success – willpower is one of the strongest habits you can have for success. This was studied by Starbucks using children. They gave them marshmallows and asked them to wait for some minutes, and those who waited would be given two marshmallows. 70% of the kids did not have the willpower to wait.
The other 30% who waited got the reward. Willpower is the ability to delay short-term gratification to reach long-term goals.
On the follow-up of the kids, it was later found out that the 30% were better performers at school and were less likely to do drugs. Willpower is critical to personal success, but it can be learned.
The Power of a Crisis – in organizations, habits become so ingrained in the employees that everything runs without them thinking so much and they do not want change. Usually, the best time to change for an organization is when there is a crisis.
When there is a crisis, the employees also feel that something must change for the organization to survive. They are therefore more open to change and can quickly develop new habits.
How Target Knows What You Want Before You Do – companies usually predict and manipulate habits so they can make a profit. This is because the habits that consumers have are predictable. No surprise there. When they learn about your shopping habits through your credit card details, then they send customized coupons and newsletters to your mail.
Also, the arrangement of the stores is so that it plays a trick on you and increases profit for them. For instance, high-end products are usually placed on the right because most customers tend to turn right when they enter a store.
PART 3: THE HABITS OF SOCIETIES
Saddleback Church and the Montgomery Bus Boycott – this chapter discusses how movements happen. When a friend is in trouble (cue), friends gather and find a solution to her problem (routine which causes the riots and movements) to feel happy about the outcome, to stand together and maybe bring change to the world (reward).
The Neurology of Free Will – are you legally or morally responsible for your actions then though you act so automatically when confronted with a cue? If you can consciously recognize your habits, you can be able to change them. If you are conscious when performing the act, then you will be responsible for the outcome.
What I Like About the Book
I like that this book is very detailed and specific to habits. The author concentrates on habits only and focuses on how they affect your personal and business success. It is a great resource when it comes to really understanding habits.
Why You Should Read the Book
You should read this book if you want to change your habits and have been wondering how. This book will help you break old bad habits and develop new ones. It will also help you to bring in new habits to your business that can affect both your employees and your customers.