By Charles Duhigg
As you get older, you begin to see your “earned self” (or who you are after years of certain behavior patterns) in the mirror. However, the option of rebuilding reconstructive patterns is a choice you can make. I’ve found that while breaking down old unconscious habits is possible, it seems harder to stick with new ones even though they add to life’s pleasures. The Power of Habit is about creating new patterns (constructive and conscious) so that they become automatic. Duhigg explains habit as change grounded in two basic rules. First, find the oblivious cue and second, clearly define the reward. Studies have found that people who have successfully started new exercise routines stick with their workouts better if they find a specific cue. Research on dieting with predetermined cues (i.e., planning meals in advance) helps define rewards and more consciousness of behavior results.
The Power of Habit is divided into three sections. In part one Duhigg explains habits through loops of cue, routine, and reward. These loops can become instilled in our behavior, then become unconscious and can lead to cravings and addictions. Habits can be altered by changing the loop, keeping the cue and the reward the same but, changing the routine. I found part two, the Habits of Successful Organizations, to be the most interesting. Our work lives are so constant that bad habits can seem almost acceptable to us. Unconsciously, bad habits unfairly affect coworkers, which can bring down the whole group ego, individually and collectively. In part three, Duhigg uses Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus project to explain his point on group habits. This book concludes by addressing our free will and the responsibility we have for ourselves.
I think anyone interested in self-improvement would benefit from reading The Power of Habit. I believe we all could use more habit awareness for a happier, more actualized life.
Reviewed by John Evans www.lemuriabooks.com