The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. It stops working so hard, or diverts focus to other tasks. So unless you deliberately fight a habit—unless you find new routines—the pattern will unfold automatically.
Habits never really disappear. They’re encoded into the structures of our brain, and that’s a huge advantage for us, because it would be awful if we had to relearn how to drive after every vacation. The problem is that your brain can’t tell the difference between bad and good habits, and so if you have a bad one, it’s always lurking there, waiting for the right cues and rewards.
Dozens of studies show that willpower is the single most important keystone habit for individual success.
Willpower isn’t just a skill. It’s a muscle, like the muscles in your arms or legs, and it gets tired as it works harder, so there’s less power left over for other things.
This is how willpower becomes a habit: by choosing a certain behavior ahead of time, and then following that routine when an inflection point arrives.
Whether selling a new song, a new food, or a new crib, the lesson is the same: If you dress a new something in old habits, it’s easier for the public to accept it.
The way we habitually think of our surroundings and ourselves create the worlds that each of us inhabit.
Change might not be fast and it isn’t always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.
- Identify the routine
- Experiment with rewards
- Isolate the cue
- Have a plan