The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business is a 2012 book written by Charles Duhigg. In this The Power of Habit summary, we dive deep into Duhigg’s perspective on building and maintaining healthy and productive habits.
Our habits don’t form for no reason and then don’t change on their own. If you want to have control over your habits, you should read this book. The book’s author, New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg, tells us all about habits.
The Power of Habit Summary with 20 Lessons Learned
Here are the 20 lessons to learn from The Power of Habit Summary:
3 elements make up habits. Tips, routines, and rewards. Habits can be acquired consciously. If you want, you can gain a habit by using these 3 elements. You can educate yourself about this and gain new behaviors.
If you don’t believe that you will be successful while doing a job, you cannot work with all your strength. If you want to be successful, you shouldn’t focus on the opportunities you have or the bad results you’ve had before.
For an action to become a habit, it must be triggered by seeing clues. Many factors such as time, place, and other people create these cues. When you want to do a behavior, you can observe what triggers it. If you start hints you can use them to your advantage.
Don’t be obsessed with being peaceful either, a little stress can motivate you more. A little anxiety about the future or fear of losing your job can be helpful, but if these fears are starting to discourage you, you should change the way you think.
#3 Take Notes
Take notes day by day whenever you want to form a new habit or repeat a goal-directed behavior over some time. When you take notes, you’ll notice your progress. This gives you motivation and allows you to continue for as long as it works for you, even if your behavior doesn’t turn into a habit.
Perfectionism is a trap, don’t expect everything to go perfectly, it will never happen. To be realistic, a successful business is not without mistakes, it has succeeded despite mistakes. Every project has mistakes and shortcomings, but these are corrected over time, and the project is not expected to be perfect in its first year.
#4 Making a Plan
Random behavior is hard to turn into a habit. If you make a plan about when and how you will do the behavior model you want to have, it will stay in your mind more easily. This way you will be prepared and it will be easier to be patient if it is a difficult situation.
You are not your thoughts, thoughts come and go. Thousands of thoughts come to our minds during the day, they do not define you, the thoughts that come to your mind are not about who you are. In particular, know that most of your fears are not real and focus on the physical world.
Once we stop a bad habit we have, we may feel nostalgic for it for a while. Because when we are making that habit, the moments we live in come to our minds. We associate these experiences with our habits. Re-activating that habit is dangerous enough to create a reward effect in the brain.
Believe in the power of disciplined work, success does not happen in a day. Don’t be fooled by the success stories you’ve read, they’re one-in-a-million facts. For real success, you have to be hardworking, disciplined, and patient, other situations are no different from the lottery.
#6 Don’t Think – Do
Our brains are prone to laziness. Our daily life consists of our automatic behaviors. We must consciously repeat a pattern of good behavior to form healthy habits. As those behaviors begin to return to our daily routine, the next iteration will be even easier.
You need to have enough positive thoughts in your mind that there is no room for bad thoughts, and your mind needs to be busy with your work and what you will do. If you don’t keep your mind busy, it will start creating negative thoughts on its own.
#7 I’m Free
We are free to act good or bad. However, as the number of bad behaviors increases, our lives start to go bad. We can consciously choose behaviors that are good for us. There is no one way to get rid of bad habits. It is possible to change everything with a plan.
As mentioned earlier in this The Power of Habit summary, read a book, learn a new language, take up a new hobby, but do not leave any free time for yourself. Be physically and mentally exhausted until you go to bed in the evening. Use your body and mind with maximum efficiency, the struggle will give you a sense of happiness and satisfaction.
One way to urge obviate a nasty habit is to exchange it with another. For example, there is a sugary food that you love very much. Let’s say you want to eat less or completely remove this food from your life. As soon as you crave this food, do something else instead of eating it right away. For example, it could be a little exercise. If you do this exercise whenever you feel like eating that food, your brain will turn it into a habit.
From the moment you wake up in the morning, condition yourself and create a morning ritual. Today may be the most amazing day of your life, you may be very lucky today, remember that these possibilities exist and repeat such words in your heart.
#9 Together You Can Succeed
Reach out to other people who are willing to do it to get started or get rid of a bad habit. People are more successful when they find someone with whom they can make changes in their lives. Having people around you who have the same purpose as you will motivate you.
Today may be the last day of your life, it doesn’t matter what you put in your head right now. Try to enjoy today, even if you can’t do anything, listen to a good song and be thankful that your ears can hear, that you enjoy the song you are listening to.
#10 Taking Responsibility
Don’t blame anyone. Just as good habits are your creation, so are bad habits. You form habits according to how you interpret what happened to you and the events you encounter. Confront your mistakes and fix them.
The way to overcome the fear of making mistakes is to get used to making mistakes. As you experience that the negative emotion you feel when you make a mistake is temporary, you will become more courageous and not afraid to take bigger risks.
#11 Environmental Factors
If you want to get rid of your alcohol habit, then you should first get rid of your friends who use alcohol. If you have 2 friends who go to the gym, you will start sports in a short time. Stay away from people that are bad for you.
Believe in the power of suggestion and preoccupation, don’t give your mind time to deal with negative thoughts. Also, don’t be afraid to have negative thoughts and feel bad, all emotions stay with you for a moment, then they all go away.
#12 Step by Step
Just like you develop muscle, you can improve your habit and strengthen your willpower. All the habits that are difficult at first will get easier over time. All habits that were difficult to stop at first will start to subside after a few tries. All you’ve got to try to do is consciously force yourself.
Don’t let your feelings rule your life, don’t make your decisions based on your feelings. A decision that makes you feel good at the moment may have negative consequences in the future, so your logic should never be secondary. Overconfidence is just as bad as insecurity, so be as realistic as possible.
#13 Change Doesn’t Happen Overnight
As long as you try to change your habits, you are sure to succeed. But to expect this change to happen overnight is delusional. This is the reason for starting sports and dieting on Monday and giving up on Tuesday. Don’t start with high expectations. First, start with walking on weekends, then you start walking once every 2 days and then jogging at a light pace.
The way to get rid of bad thoughts is not to ignore them, but to replace them with other thoughts. Even if you go for a walk, your attention will be distracted and bad thoughts will leave you. Don’t struggle with your thoughts, find something to linger on in the physical world.
#14 Habits Affect Our Lives
Studying habits affect my career, eating habits affect our health. We make a habit and our whole life changes. The effects of habits continue throughout our lives. We have to accept that habits are very influential in our lives.
We know those bad thoughts will not disappear throughout our lives, but their effects on us lessen over time. Look at your experiences when bad thoughts come, and you will see that nothing has changed in your life. You will feel more comfortable as you realize that bad thoughts cannot harm you.
#15 Trust Your Will
You may not succeed the first time. The expectation is in this direction. It doesn’t happen on the first try, but a slight change starts in the next attempts. These changes accumulate and eventually become habits. Believe in the facility of your will.
If you knew that you would definitely win a war, you would fight much more bravely, you would work much better if you knew that you would be successful in bringing a project to life. Fill your mind with these thoughts when starting a business, do not lose your belief that you will succeed.
#16 Getting Started
The most difficult or wrong part of the job is the starting phase. You can’t start by pretending you already have the habit you want to acquire. These are not permanent solutions. Do not try to give up in one day what you have done for years.
People will be curious about your comments and will want to get your opinion on all their new works. At the same time, they will fall under the spell of chatting with you and will want to be with you all the time, but do not lose your credibility by making exaggerated comments.
#17 We Are No Different From The Others
When we see someone with a regular fitness habit, we think it’s an innate trait. We ignore the difficulties he faced when starting this sport. He is no different from you. It started and continued, that’s all.
Leaders should have a more positive outlook than anyone else on their team, if the leader doesn’t believe in the project, the person working for him/her won’t. The leader’s negative attitudes reduce the motivation of the whole team and they cannot get enough efficiency from their team.
#18 We Guarantee
As mentioned earlier in this The Power of Habit summary, all habits can be changed. Think about habits that you thought were impossible to break. Think about the one that will challenge you the most. Even that behavior pattern can be changed. If some of your habits can be changed in 1 month, other habits will change in 6 months. But it can be changed.
Try to act the way you act when you are comfortable and have positive thoughts. This way of behaving will send a message to your mind that everything is fine and will begin to change your feelings.
#19 Mental Habits
We have not only physical but also mental habits. For example, thinking positively or negatively is also a habit. It is also a habit to think of the worst that will happen when starting a business. It greatly affects your performance. You can positively improve your life by being aware of this mental habit and changing it.
Examine your positive-minded friends and physically model their behavior. Pay attention to the way they sit and walk, if you start acting like them, it will change your thinking.
#20 Not Needing To Think
The strengthening and permanence of our habits are that we no longer need to think while performing that action. In the first days when you are getting ready for the gym, you would think about which clothes you will buy and wear your sneakers are, but after a while, you start to memorize and go. When you reach that point, it means that you have acquired a habit.
We have no fears of a lion coming from the jungle and attacking us, these were real fears of our ancestors thousands of years ago. Our ancestors had to find food every day because they did not have the means to store food, and our fears are much more superficial compared to them. The more you minimize your fears, the less its impact will be.
Do you know more lessons by Charles Duhigg to include in this The Power of Habit Summary? Share with us!
Top 10 Quotes from The Power of Habit
1. “Deeper inside the brain and closer to the brain stem—where the brain meets the spinal column—are older, more primitive structures. They control our automatic behaviors, such as breathing and swallowing, or the startle response we feel when someone leaps out from behind a bush.”
2. “However, simply understanding how habits work—learning the structure of the habit loop—makes them easier to control. Once you break a habit into its components, you can fiddle with the gears.”
3. “Without habit loops, our brains would shut down, overwhelmed by the minutiae of daily life. People whose basal ganglia are damaged by injury or disease often become mentally paralyzed.”
4.” Cravings are what drive habits. And figuring out how to spark a craving makes creating a new habit easier. It’s as true now as it was almost a century ago.”
5. “If you want to stop smoking, ask yourself, do you do it because you love nicotine, or because it provides a burst of stimulation, a structure to your day, a way to socialize?”
6. “A pattern emerged. Alcoholics who practiced the techniques of habit replacement, the data indicated, could often stay sober until there was a stressful event in their lives—at which point, a certain number started drinking again, no matter how many new routines they had embraced.”
7. “The evidence is clear: If you want to change a habit, you must find an alternative routine, and your odds of success go up dramatically when you commit to changing as part of a group.”
8. “When sociologists have examined how opinions move through communities, how gossip spreads or political movements start, they’ve discovered a common pattern: Our weak-tie acquaintances are often as influential—if not more—than our close-tie friends.”
9. “Some people’s brains, though, experience switching errors. They go into incomplete paralysis as they sleep, and their bodies are active while they dream or pass between sleep phases.”
10. “However, to modify a habit, you must decide to change it. You must consciously accept the hard work of identifying the cues and rewards that drive the habits’ routines, and find alternatives.”
Free PDF Download of The Power of Habit Summary to Save or Print
Charles Duhigg on Creating a Habit
The Popular Charles Duhigg Ted Talk
Please share these important lessons by pinning this post to Pinterest.