Friday, March 08, 2013

Must Read Book: How to Crush Your Bad Habits

My newest “Must Read” Book is Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

It’s been out for a while but I finally got around to reading it recently and all I can say is that I am sorry that it took me this long.

We all have habits. Habits are what make us, in many ways. Some good, some bad.

I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, but what Charles Duhigg tells us ARE things we don’t know. I love books that help you think about how you think and that’s exactly what happens in this one.

Duhigg identifies that each of us possess a “Habit Loop” consisting of

  1. a Cue—something that triggers an action
  2. a Routine-how we respond to that due
  3. a Reward-how we feel as a result

The key to changing habits is to break it down into those three elements and then work to consciously replace one routine with another.

So, if your cue is “I get stressed out at work” and your routine is “I get a cookie or a sugary snack,” so that I get a reward of “I feel better,” and the consequence is weight gain…you need to be able to remove “sugary snack” for “go for a walk.”

The critical element, however, is recognizing the parts of the loop since for many of us, they are intertwined to the point that we don’t see the pieces.

One of the things that I’ve used is the food journal…just keeping track of caloric intake, to help identify cues, routines, and rewards.

We have these habits all over our lives and willpower isn’t enough.

The Power of Habit provides you the background and the roadmap for helping you build/establish the kind of habits you want.

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