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Book Review: The Power of Habit

When people talk about habit, they typically talk about something that is extremely familiar such as brushing their teeth a certain way, waking up at a certain time, or performing certain tasks at the same time each and every day. There are good habits, and there are bad habits. But have you ever thought about a habit in terms of why you have it, how it works in your life, the effects it has whether good or bad, and how to go about changing it? The author of “The Power of Habit” Charles Duhigg, talks about these very concepts in his new book, and what you are about to read is a review on what he has to say.

The problem with a habit is that they can be extremely powerful. In fact, some habits are so powerful they can actually do us harm. However, before moving forward in this respect, it’s important to understand that there are good habits and bad habits. Some examples of good habits are:

  • Waking up each morning on time
  • Paying your bills on time
  • Completing your work on time
  • Taking care of yourself the proper ways each and every day

Although these are only a few examples of good habits, they give you an idea of what good habits look like. Now let’s take a look at some of the bad habits that people struggle with and those are:

  • Eating certain foods that you know aren’t good for you
  • Not getting to work on time
  • Not paying your bills
  • Procrastinating

So, now that you have a better idea of what good and bad habits are, it’s important to talk about how the book “The Power of Habit” can help you make changes to these habits either way. Duhigg talks about how powerful habits can be. He also talks about why it’s so important to understand how habits work. In his book, he goes on to say that most habits function in the same way. Each habit has a set of properties which will include:

  • A cue or trigger
  • A routine
  • A reward

A cue or trigger, in many cases, will allow the habit behavior to unfold without the person even knowing what has developed. This can include but isn’t limited to other people, a certain situation, the time of day, or a location. The routine is what happens during the habitual behavior, and the reward is the anticipated result. Duhigg says that all habits whether good or bad will all have the same underlying properties. He also says that by understanding these traits, this will be the very key to changing these habits.

In order to change a habit, Duhigg refers to engaging in an experiment. However, before you can try any type of experiment, you will have to spend a little time identifying all the different aspects of the habit itself. The book “The Power of Habit” talks about how to do this in a few short and easy steps. Once identified, you can choose your own experiment which includes doing something different during the routine and reward phases of your particular habit.

All in all, the approach Charles Duhigg uses in the book is pretty amazing because he talks about identifying and diagnosing your habit, changing your routine, introducing a different reward and as a result, breaking or changing a habit that may have held you in psychological and physical bondage. The book is roughly 400 pages and offers a really good read. This one deserves a thumbs up for sure because everyone has a habit but, some habits are not worth keeping.

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