Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business
In a nutshell, The Power of Habit is about how habits are created, how we can change a habit to essentially create a new habit, and how once habits are created, they don’t require memory, they become automatic responses.
“Habit is a choice that we deliberately make at some point, and then stop thinking about, but continue doing, often every day.”
Our brain is constantly forming new habits, as a way to make things easier and open up more space for new information. Habits are never fully forgotten, even if new habits are created. Memory is not necessary in habitual behavior. In fact, habits use a totally different part of the brain, which is why we can be doing something habitually, while thinking about something completely different, and still accomplish what we set out to do.
I found the chapter on how habits are created really interesting. Essentially, there is a cue, a routine and a reward. This is the habit pattern. New habits can be created once we understand what is driving the old habit. If you want to change a habit, you need to first identify what your cue is, this triggers the routine (habit), and then you can identify the reward you are seeking. Once you identify the separate parts, you can begin a new routine following your regular cue, receive your reward, and eventually, it will become a new habit.
When reading a book like this, I love the “aha moments,” when I really identify and agree with what I’m reading. I found this in the chapter on “Keystone habits.” These are foundational habits, which, when implemented, begin to affect other areas of our lives. Some examples would be exercising regularly or making your bed every morning. These types of habits tend to have a domino effect, and as you focus on the one habit, you will notice other areas of your life changing as well.
Part of the process of creating healthy habits in our life is simply looking ahead and anticipating things that might come up, then planning what our response will be. It’s much harder to make a good decision in the middle of a high stress situation. Willpower becomes a habit when we choose ahead of time what our course of action will be. Writing down our plans ensures an even higher success rate.
“If you try to scare people into following Christ’s example, it’s not going to work for too long. The only way you get people to take responsibility for their spiritual maturity is to teach them habits of faith.”
The chapter on habits and how they affect the church and Christianity was really an eye opener. Many of the spiritual disciplines we practice are habits that we create in our lives, and the more they become habit, the more they become part of our identity. The difference is, when your habit is something like reading your Bible daily, or praying throughout the day, as opposed to something like choosing a healthier snack, the results in your life will be much more drastic. Many of these spiritual habits would be the “Keystone Habits” mentioned earlier. Once you start to implement them, and they become habit, they will begin to spill over onto other areas of your life.
Have you read The Power of Habit? What did you like best about this book?