Perfect for: Rethinking your routines, Understanding the importance of good habits
Length: 416 pages
Depth: Collection of entertaining stories
The book is broken down into 3 sections: (1) Habit formation and transformation (2) Companies with good habits (3) Habits of society. In each section the author recounts stories and examples of how habits were used to achieve extraordinary outcomes.
All the Feels:
This book is mostly a collection of stories demonstrating different aspects of habits and less of an actionable guide to improving/creating habits. I found it to be more of an entertainment book than a self-improvement book.
My Main Takeaway(s):
New Habit Formation – For a habit to stick, there needs to be a cue, a reward and a craving for that reward. Example: you want to get into the habit of going to the gym as soon as you wake up. The cue is waking up. The reward is the post workout smoothie. Think about the smoothie or endorphin rush you will feel post workout. The anticipation of the reward is the craving. The craving drives the habit loop and is the key to new habit formation. Learning how to create a craving is the key to creating a new habit.
Changing Habits – “The golden rule of habit change” — habits can be changed if the cue and reward remain the same. The only thing that changes is the routine in the middle. List the triggers of your bad habit and the reward you get from that habit. Then change the behavior that sits in between the cue and reward.
Example #1: an alcoholic suddenly is triggered to drink because of a fight with their spouse. The reward is being able to numb their emotions and feel companionship with alcohol. The routine is drinking. To change this bad habit, the cue and reward need to remain the same. The new routine is now to attend an AA meeting instead of taking a drink. So instead of dealing with emotions and getting a sense of companionship via alcohol, the person gets this from an AA meeting instead. The trigger and payoff remain the same, but the routine in the middle changes.
Example #2: Habit is snacking at work. The cue is boredom and the reward is a brief break from this boredom and distraction. To change this habit, you need to simply replace the behavior of snacking with some other behavior that achieves the same reward. So next time you feel boredom (cue), go for a walk or read a news article. This new behavior routine will still provide a break from work and boredom relief (reward) but will do so without adding to your waistline.
Willpower is like a muscle. It can be trained and improved, but it can also get fatigued and depleted.