The Power of Habit

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power of habits

The key to internalizing new habits is:

  • The trigger or cue (put your running clothes next to your bed
  • The Activity or routine (the actual habit, running in this case)
  • The reward (whatever works for you, video suggests small piece of chocolate)

Divide the habit you want to create or get rid of into these sub components and figure out which part is easiest to change or influence for you.

 

The Power of Habit by Charles DuhiggThe Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries. The book explains why habits exist and how they can be changed. Duhigg brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation.

Learn why some people and companies struggle to change, despite years of trying. Why others seem to remake themselves overnight. We visit laboratories where neuroscientists explore how habits work. Where, exactly, they reside in our brains. We discover how the right habits were crucial to the success of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and civil-rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Why are habits important?

The habit is a thing that you do almost unconsciously. The action that does not require your thought saves you mental energy and willpower. If you can do something automatically, then you can concentrate on the finer points and achieve mastery in that skill.

The habit is why martial artists endlessly practice they basic moves. When the basics become automatic, then you can focus your energy on more demanding tasks.

Try to make everything that’s basic but important in your life a habit. Create routines that will take the effort out of your day and let you become a master in your field.

Routine is freedom!

If you have a habit you want to get rid of, then find something to replace it with?

For example, I have a short fuse. That’s putting it lightly; I have no fuse just bomb. When things don’t go as planned, I often lash out and get into aggressive fight or flight mode.

It is a habit. I should find a way to change that, but the habit loop is so fast. When I notice what’s happened, it’s already too late. I even know what reaction to replace it with. Attention, curiosity/interest, surprise.

Attention is important because in an unexpected situation you have to evaluate it.

Interest or curiosity about what happened and why it happened. You will evaluate the situation and decide on a course of action.

Surprise about the situation happening, opposed to annoyance, fear or aggression. Surprise makes you evaluate the situation even further and every now and then there might be something to learn from.

Now the only question is how to trigger that response before the built-in fight or flight reaction happens?

Meditation

Probably one of the most effective ways to train your brain to deal with impulsiveness is meditation. I have struggled with meditating for years. It is so easy not to do it. And if you don’t meditate, then you feel no difference.

But there is a difference!

Meditation will help you improve your self-control and discipline, in turn, will lead to all the things you want to achieve in your life.

Let it go

Another great way to improve your self-control is to intentionally lose in situations that where you have self-control. I wrote about it here, but the key is that you let other people have their way. When you train that in safe situations then this might give you a little more time before your lid flies of in important situations. For example, take traffic and let others have their way every time.

Let us know in the comments what habits are you trying to get rid of.

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