POWER OF HABITS
This book by Charles Duhigg focuses on how to recognize and change the patterns that shape every aspect of our lives. Every single one of us has a bad habit we want to get rid of (nail biting, binge eating, procrastinating) or new habits we wish could stick to (going to the gym, being more productive). Well, this is the book that helps you understand why habits exist and how they can be changed. I have read several "habit" books before and where this one stands out is in the scientific approach taken to the subject. The research and examples are just more rigorous than any other book I have read on the subject.
Some examples shared by Duhigg include.
- A young woman walks into a laboratory. Over the past two years, she has transformed almost every aspect of her life. She has quit smoking, run a marathon, and been promoted at work. The patterns inside her brain, neurologists discover, have fundamentally changed.
- Marketers at Procter & Gamble study videos of people making their beds. They are desperately trying to figure out how to sell a new product called Febreze, on track to be one of the biggest flops in company history. Suddenly, one of them detects a nearly imperceptible pattern—and with a slight shift in advertising, Febreze goes on to earn a billion dollars a year.
What I found after reading it though was that taking that first step was actually quite hard. There intention is there and the data was compelling, so why couldn't I just do what the book said and get going. Well, it turns out this little thing called willpower was standing in the way.
Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney write a book on understanding the secrets of self-control and then how to master it. The premise of the book is that willpower actually operates like a muscle: it can be strengthened with practice and fatigued by overuse. Willpower is fueled by glucose, and it can be bolstered simply by replenishing the brain's store of fuel. That's why eating and sleeping- and especially failing to do either of those-have such dramatic effects on self-control (and why dieters have such a hard time resisting temptation). You learn not only how to build willpower but also how to conserve it for crucial moments by setting the right goals and using the best new techniques for monitoring your progress.
This is where both books read together can supercharge results. While we would all love to create healthy new habits or get rid of bad ones, often what stands in the way of that first step is the willpower to do something about it. Once you understand willpower and power of habits together, it is life changing.