The Power of Habit, Update 1


I just started reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. After looking through the table of contents, I decided to start with the section of the Appendix titled “A Reader’s Guide to Using These Ideas”, as it seemed like a helpful thing to read before the rest of the book. So I read through that, and today I read through the Prologue and a bit of Chapter 1.

Now, I have recently rediscovered my love for note taking, and I have been keeping digital notes on my phone as I read. Not only does this give me enjoyment and allow me to feel like I am doing something meaningful with my time (jesting), it also helps integrate the information from the book more thoroughly into my brain. If I take an extra step to make note of what I believe is important, that literally ‘sends a message’ to my brain — and my mind — that whatever info I just wrote down is juicy enough to keep around and utilize in my daily life.

From the little I have read so far, my interest has critically peaked! This book is all about habits, how they work in the brain, and how to change them. And that’s exactly what hypnosis is best for! I am eager to discover whether Charles mentions it at all. Either way, I will be sure to apply what I learn from this book in my practice, both for myself and the people I work with.

Here’s some of what I’ve digested:

A habit is a 3-step loop consisting of the cue, the routine, and the reward. If we want to change a habit, we can first identify the routine, which is the most obvious component of the habit loop; it’s the behavior we exhibit.

Then we can identify the reward. This is trickier and usually requires a bit of experimentation, because what we think is the reward isn’t always actually the reward. For example, Charles describes his habit of going to the cafeteria to buy a chocolate chip cookie and eating it while talking with coworkers. He later finds out that the reward was not the cookie, but the short break from work to socialize with friends.

Then there’s the cue. This is the signal that sets the whole habit loop into action. Charles discovered that his cue was a certain time of day, which was around 3:30PM.

Lastly, in order to effectively change a habit, we need a plan. Charles’ plan was to get up from his desk every day at 3:30PM and find some friends to talk with for ten minutes. He set an alarm to remind him.

So this was just a quick update to get things going. I haven’t been writing much, and now I have something new to share! I will explain everything I learn from this book in more detail in future updates, so stay tuned! No doubt, many of my own unconscious habits will surface as I plumb the depths of my mind, and I will share my process in setting out to change them.

And if you have already read the book, please, no spoilers! Do, however, tell me about your experience in reading it and how it has affected your life, if you wish to share.

Thanks for reading (this blog, not the book, though I’m sure Charles would thank you for that).


Devin Ryback