The Power Of Habit Book Summary (PDF) by Charles Duhigg

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Ready to learn the most important takeaways from The Power Of Habit in less than two minutes? Keep reading!

Why This Book Matters:

This ground-breaking work is an essential read for anyone who wants to adopt new positive habits or get rid of tough-to-break bad habits.

Duhigg spells out the exact formula for what it takes to create change on an individual, organizational, and societal level.

  1. The first step in habit change is to understand the habit loop: cue, routine, reward
    1. The habit is initiated via an external cue that sparks a routine and ends with a reward.
    2. Example: An external cue is a smell of chocolate chip cookies in the cafeteria you walk by after work, the routine is to buy a cookie, and the reward is the sugar rush and satisfaction from the cookie.
  2. Habits are hard to break because they create a craving for a reward
    1. As we experience the reward on a regular basis, the anticipation becomes neurologically engraved in our minds.
    2. Example: A cookie from the cafeteria every day at the same time becomes a reward in your mind that you start to anticipate each day.
  3. To change a habit, substitute a new routine in response to the cue
    1. When you experience an external cue, practice an alternative routine, but give yourself a similar reward.
    2. Example: If you enjoy the socialization component of going on a smoke break at work, go to a coworker’s desk instead so you get that feeling of satisfaction from chit-chatting with friends.
  4. Find your keystone habit
    1. The keystone of an arch keeps the whole structure together, just as a keystone habit keeps you on track with many positive habits.
    2. Example: Doctors see better weight loss results in obese patients by having them focus on one keystone habit at first, such as food journaling, which in turn spurs other positive weight loss habits such as eating healthier foods.
  5. Willpower is a muscle that can be trained
    1. Willpower is a finite resource in that it does run out, but you can increase your willpower with practice and by mentally rehearsing a situation you know will require willpower.
    2. Example: If you know that you often stop for fast food on days when you have to stay late at work, decide on a healthy alternative before you leave work on a long day.
  6. We have the ultimate responsibility for changing our habits
    1. Bad habits or lack of good habits can be detrimental to living a happy and productive life and even harmful to ourselves and others, but it is possible to change if you understand the cycle of cues, routines, and rewards.
    2. Harrah Casino sued Angie Bachman for $500,000 in debt. Her defense was that she was a victim of her gambling habit, but ultimately, she was aware of her habit and had the power to change it.

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