What I’m Reading: The Power of Habit

The summer of reading continues! This week, after much recommendation from collegues, I’ve started reading The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg.

While only a third of the way through, I wanted to share some early thoughts.

Part One: The Habits of Individuals

The timing of this book is perfect. I’ve gotten back into a more frequent training schedule (I’m running my third half marathon in October), so I was definitely in the right state of mind for an inspiring kick in the ass. A lot of the this section is topics you’ve heard before, it’s about replacing bad habits with good. The great thing about Habit, is that it takes things a step further. As I’m sure we all know, it’s not as easy as replacing a chocolate sundae with an apple (if only!), but rather, it’s about a Cue > Routine > Reward system.

Finding a way to make decisions automatic, and taking the “thinking” out of good habits, so they’re something you just “do.” Keeping track of your bad habit triggers, and replacing coffee for your afternoon cookie – that’s all things that I know I’ve heard before. The underlying lesson is the important one, and thinking beyond “I wish I could lose 5 lbs,” to something more, something bigger. It’s something I’m thinking a lot of as I read through this book.

Aside from that, one of the things that stuck with me was the whole life influence of bringing one small, good habit and change into your life, and the positive effects that can carry though to other areas of my life. It tells stories of the person who quit smoking, then started eating better, sleeping better, being more productive at work, exercising more often – all without thinking. While making the one change to stop smoking, the examples showed, the positive effects often carried over into positive habits across the person’s life.

Something to think about. I know when I’m on a running training schedule, the rest of that good stuff does seem a little more automatic. I sleep better, eat better, and just generally feel better!

About a third of the way through the book, and I’m eager to learn more. Have you read it? Would love to hear what you think!


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