I was roaming around in Community Center in New friends colony of Delhi which is a marketplace for fashion and food. All of a sudden a book in white cover page titled ‘The Power of Habit: why we do what we do and how to change’ authored by Charles Duhigg sought my attention. I read about the author and brief of the book and bought it without any double thought.
Since a right habit makes a person achieve better in life I picked up the book and start reading. As the book’s introduction says that the book contains scientific researches it made me believe that the book will take intense head and time to understand. However, as I started reading the book, my curiosity level went up. Moreover, the book is written in such a way that anyone can understand who don’t like science.
I learned one of the most crucial aspects of habit from the book that I thought it should be shared with all of my readers. I would like to sum up my points in this article with respect to the book while covering most important part of the book.
We often struggle to overcome bad habits such as smoking, wasting time, overeating and much more. Why we struggle is because we don’t know the science behind habit building. Once we know it we can easily change it no matter how old the habit is. That is what the author talked about in this book.
It took lots of research and study to figure out the mechanism of habit building and how it can be changed. The author wrote in the book that there is a specific loop that contains ‘Cue- Routine- Reward’ to form a habit. Whereas neither cue nor reward but the routine tells whether a habit is bad or good. If we can change the routine then we can easily change our habit.
Let’s understand this with an example which is an excerpt from the book. Charles B. Towns Hospital for Drugs and Alcohol Addiction (AA) where physicians started researching how the habit of drinking alcohols forms in alcoholics. They interacted with many alcoholics and came to know that alcoholics consume alcohols when they are tired, anxious, stressed and frustrated. So ‘Cue’ is tired, anxious and stressed. Because of the cue, they crave for a something that is ‘Routine’ and they consume alcohols. After consuming it they feel good and relaxed that is called ‘Reward’.
The hospital came up with an idea that if the routine is changed to satisfy the cue by the reward then alcoholics will not consume alcohols. The hospital made a group where alcoholics can get together and talk about various things from personal life to professional life. This group chat works as a Routine to satisfy the Cue with the same Reward that alcoholics would get after consuming alcoholics. The alcoholics would feel relaxed and stress-free after group discussion. This initiative made many people sober.
The book not only talked about how an individual can change his/her bad habits. It also talked about habits of organisations such as Starbucks and other successful organisations.
In the end of the book, it contains few pages on how an individual should use techniques that the book talks about for acquiring good habits for success.
Charles Duhigg being a successful investigative journalist, author of two books and winning Pulitzer prize has put many scientific research on the habit in such way that every person can understand all the aspects of the book and can adopt some of the techniques to replace bad habits with good ones. This book is worth reading to everyone irrespective of individuals profession.