November 16th, 2017

Using the Power of Habit to Change Your Life

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg proves that the secret to success isn’t actually a secret at all. Successful people all have one thing in common: they know how to transform their habits.

Your habits shape every single aspect of your life. So if you want to improve your fitness, become more productive, or build stronger relationships, then it’s just a matter of understanding how habits work. If you can change your habits, you can change your life.

Is This Book Right For You?

Is sticking to new habits a struggle?

Are you trying to break bad habits but aren’t having much luck?

Do you believe that you can consciously control your life?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then The Power of Habit might be exactly what you need.

The Habit Loop

The first part of the book starts with an introduction to, and description of, the “habit loop“. This circular process is the cornerstone of habit formation, and it’s comprised of three components: the cue, the routine, and the reward.

  • The cue is an environmental or situational trigger that prompts you to seek the reward.
  • The routine is the emotional or physical action that you take to obtain the reward.
  • The reward is the satisfaction that you gain after completing the routine.

All habits, regardless of their nature, can be broken down into these three distinct components. Once you understand the habit loop, then it becomes much easier to apply it to your own habits.

Changing a Habit in Four Steps

When you’re creating new habits – or replacing bad ones – you need to keep the cue and reward, but change the routine.

Changing habits is a four-step process:

  1. Identify the routine;
  2. Determine the reward;
  3. Identify the cue; and
  4. Change the routine.

The more you understand the nature of habits, the less you will rely upon resources, like willpower and motivation. Willpower is a finite resource, and motivation can be fickle. It’s more efficient, then, to automate willpower and not be so dependant on motivation. Suddenly, a lofty goal of losing five pounds of body fat next month becomes as simple as doing ten minutes’ worth of push-ups every morning at 7:30AM. When you split your goals into smaller habits, it makes them far more attainable.

Keystone Habits

When you’re trying to form new habits, nothing is more beneficial than developing a “keystone habit”.

These types of habits are singular habits that positively impact your other habits. For example, if you’d like to make healthier food choices, then food journaling would be your keystone habit. Keeping an accurate record of your food intake may encourage other positive changes, such as improving your diet; visiting the gym more often; stocking your fridge or pantry with nutritious food; or limiting your snacking. All of these changes can be achieved by just keeping a food journal and making it a keystone habit.

The Power of Habit

Harness the power of positive change by simply changing your habits. By developing better habits, you can develop a better, more enriching, life.