See a Problem?
We’d love your help. Let us know what’s wrong with this preview of The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg.
Not the book you’re looking for?
Preview — The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Read between December 04, 2018 - August 12, 2019
the conviction that she had to give up smoking to accomplish her goal—had
It was that Lisa had focused on changing just one habit—smoking—at first.
By focusing on one pattern—what is known as a “keystone habit”—Lisa had taught herself how to reprogram the other routines in her life, as well.
Habits, scientists say, emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort.
When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making.
So what, exactly, did Hopkins do? He created a craving. And that craving, it turns out, is what makes cues and rewards work. That craving is what powers the habit loop.
The key, he said, was that he had “learned the right human psychology.” That psychology was grounded in two basic rules: First, find a simple and obvious cue. Second, clearly define the rewards.
Find an obvious cue and clearly define the reward.
But only once they created a sense of craving—the desire to make everything smell as nice as it looked—did Febreze become a hit.
“Consumers need some kind of signal that a product is working,”
The tingling doesn’t make the toothpaste work any better. It just convinces people it’s doing the job.”
“Foaming is a huge reward,” said Sinclair, the brand manager. “Shampoo doesn’t have to foam, but we add foaming chemicals because people expect it each time they wash their hair. Same thing with laundry detergent. And toothpaste—now every company adds sodium laureth sulfate to make toothpaste foam more. There’s no cleaning benefit, but people feel better when there’s a bunch of suds around their mouth. Once the customer starts expecting that foam, the habit starts growing.”
a team so bad it would later be described as putting the “less” in “hopeless”—beat
That’s the rule: If you use the same cue, and provide the same reward, you can shift the routine and change the habit. Almost any behavior can be transformed if the cue and reward stay the same.
Asking patients to describe what triggers their habitual behavior is called awareness training, and like AA’s insistence on forcing alcoholics to recognize their cues, it’s the first step in habit reversal training.
At the end of their first session, the therapist sent Mandy home with an assignment: Carry around an index card, and each time you feel the cue—a tension in your fingertips—make a check mark on the card. She came back a week later with twenty-eight checks. She was, by that point, acutely aware of the sensations that preceded her habit. She knew how many times it occurred during class or while watching television.
If you identify the cues and rewards, you can change the routine.
You don’t have to believe in God, but you do need the capacity to believe that things will get better.
Belief is easier when it occurs within a community.
The evidence is clear: If you want to change a habit, you must find an alternative routine, and your odds of success go up dramatically when you commit to changing as part of a group. Belief is essential, and it grows out of a communal experience, even if that community is only as large as two people.
He looked dignified, solid, confident. Like a chief executive.
They’ve devoted themselves to creating a habit of excellence.
When the race arrives, he’s more than halfway through his plan and he’s been victorious at every step. All the stretches went like he planned. The warm-up laps were just like he visualized. His headphones are playing exactly what he expected. The actual race is just another step in a pattern that started earlier that day and has been nothing but victories. Winning is a natural extension.”
Keystone habits make tough choices—such as firing a top executive— easier, because when that person violates the culture, it’s clear they have to go.
“Your apron is a shield,” he told her. “Nothing anyone says will ever hurt you. You will always be as strong as you want to be.”
if a worker knows how to remain focused and disciplined, even at the end of an eight-hour shift, they’ll deliver the higher class of fast food service that Starbucks customers expect.
“If you want to do something that requires willpower—like going for a run after work—you have to conserve your willpower muscle during the day,”
“We’re in the people business serving coffee. Our entire business model is based on fantastic customer service. Without that, we’re toast.”
“And I really, genuinely believe that if you tell people that they have what it takes to succeed, they’ll prove you right.”
“When people are asked to do something that takes self-control, if they think they are doing it for personal reasons—if they feel like it’s a choice or something they enjoy because it helps someone else—it’s much less taxing. If they feel like they have no autonomy, if they’re just following orders, their willpower muscles get tired much faster.
Simply giving employees a sense of agency—a feeling that they are in control, that they have genuine decision-making authority—can radically increase how much energy and focus they bring to their jobs.
“People want to be in control of their lives.”
But as marketers and psychologists figured out long ago, if we start our shopping sprees by loading up on healthy stuff, we’re much more likely to buy Doritos, Oreos, and frozen pizza when we encounter them later on.
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.
There’s a natural instinct embedded in friendship, a sympathy that makes us willing to fight for someone we like when they are treated unjustly.
“Adding a near miss to a lottery is like pouring jet fuel on a fire,” said a state lottery consultant who spoke to me on the condition of anonymity. “You want to know why sales have exploded? Every other scratch-off ticket is designed to make you feel like you almost won.”
However, to modify a habit, you must decide to change it. You must consciously accept the hard work of identifying the cues and rewards that drive the habits’ routines, and find alternatives.
We need to see small victories to believe a long battle will be won.
“I think that message could be helpful for people to hear. No matter how big the pain becomes, you can overcome it. We say it in AA: How much pain do you have to feel before you start to believe that it can end? I know it’s hard and scary. But once you decide to start changing, you make that change become real.”
a simple neurological loop at the core of every habit, a loop that consists of three parts: a cue, a routine, and a reward.
Rewards are powerful because they satisfy cravings. But we’re often not conscious of the cravings that drive our behaviors.
Put another way, a habit is a formula our brain automatically follows: When I see CUE, I will do ROUTINE in order to get a REWARD.