ISBN: 1400069289

This books describes what habits are, how they form, and how you can change them. It uses a variety of fascinating studies and stories to teach by example. Here’s what I learned:

  • The three components of a habit are the cue, routine, and reward. No habit can survive without a reward, even if that reward is as simple as checking a box or having your mouth fill with foam as you brush your teeth.
  • In ingrained habits, you start to feel happiness from a reward that has not yet arrived (e.g., when thinking of smoking a cigarette makes you feel the relaxing effects of actually smoking).
  • Habits that stick create a craving so strong that you have no hesitation to start the routine process.
  • To dissect your habit, analyze your feelings and thoughts before starting the routine. What craving are you satisfying?
  • You can’t change a habit that you don’t believe is possible for you to change.
  • A good habit can cause ripple effects that make it easier to hold onto other good habits. Exercise is a good example—when you exercise, you tend to eat better and smoke less.
  • You have only so much willpower to use in a day. It’s a finite resource, but it can be strengthened over time with commitment.

My favorite quotes:

Habits, scientists say, emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort. Left to its own devices, the brain will try to make almost any routine into a habit, because habits allow our minds to ramp down more often.

[…]

When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making.

[…]

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. If you use it up too early on tedious tasks like writing emails or filling out complicated and boring expense forms, all the strength will be gone by the time you get home.

The major flaw of this book is that the author kept cutting off stories. He would only share small bits of a story before starting another one, leaving you hanging for the sole sake of leaving you hanging. If I wanted to read a suspense novel, I would have bought one.

In spite of that problem, The Power Of Habit was one of the best self-help books I read, giving me practical advice that is easy to implement. Not only did it help me analyze my own habits, but it gave me a clear roadmap on how I could tweak them, and by the time I finished the book, I introduced a new habit into my life that I’m already pleased with. Recommended.

Read More: “The Power Of Habit” on Amazon