The Power Of Habits by Charles Duhigg – Book Notes

The Power Of Habits

Basil ganglia- an old part of the brain that stores routines. Like a program of behavior patterns. It is part of the core lizard brain that is deep beyond thought and once (1ce) programed the program never goes away but waits for the proper queues to activate the routine.

Claude Hopkins habit and selling Pepsodent toothpaste. He didn’t know it but he was selling a cool sensation of tingling that people craved to feel mouth clean. When other products discovered they were not selling beautiful teeth but a sensation Pepsodent’s game was up as they lost market share. Other brands started adding a cool tingle so people feel that their mouths are clean.

Craving- the routine usually ends with a reward. A craving is when a cue triggers an overwhelming desire for the reward. This is essentially what a habit is.

Habits are a three step loop; the cue, the routine, and the reward.

Change the routine and you change the habit. You just have to use the same cue and reward.

The hard part is figuring out what exactly is the cue and the reward? For example people drink alcohol not to get drunk but escape difficult life’s stresses, The reward is “the sense of ease and comfort” that alcohol seems to provide by dulling the world around us. It is way hard to really put your finger on the real cue and real reward.

Awareness training is actively being mindful of the cue or cues that triggers the routines that form a habit loop. It could be boredom as the cue. it could be stress. It could be anxiety. Mandy (a nail biter) was asked to make a check when she noticed the cue (the tension in her finger tips) and a hashmark on a pad of paper when the reward was delivered without the behavior. The reward,in her case, was brief sense of accomplishment of completing a physical action. Sitting on her hands became the new physical stimulation.

This is a big part of habit reversal therapy. Used to change lots of habits

Belief is a big part of habit change success. If you believe in the power to change things (like higher power) this can change routines. Belief provides the glimmer of hope you mind needs to believe in the success of the changed/ new routine.

Freedom to change the bondage of a bad behavior is a powerful motivator. Especially if the routine is proven to be destructive and thus a bad habit.

Keystone habits- habits that when changed they influence a host of behaviors. If you can identify a keystone habit than you work at changing the routine and these changed behaviors would change other habits. A small win is the change of a habit that fuel bigger changes. Keystone habits can be one new habit that snowballs to other behaviors.

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