The Power of Habit

For whatever reason I am very habit driven.  I recognize this and have learned to work within it.  Clearly there are some questionable habits or addictions in my life, such as alcohol, but there are also good ones, such as exercising.

A useful book on this topic is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.  It lays out why we form habits and why they are generally beneficial.  They basically allow the mind to make sense of the world around it when being overwhelmed with information.  It’s a book worth checking out.

The book outlines a technique for breaking habits.  If you want to break a bad habit, you need to replace it with a good habit that has a similar mental hook.  It is a lot easier for the mind to switch to a new similar habit than quit a habit.  I just recently did an experiment on myself trying this.  I’ve always drank a lot of diet coke, and I mean a lot.  It wasn’t just the caffeine addiction, but it was a pretty ingrained habit to seek a can whenever I was slightly thirsty.  Well, not to debate the health reasons, but I just wanted to stop.  Instead of quitting cold turkey (which I have tried to do before), this time I’ve chosen to replace the diet coke with unsweetened sparkling water.  I still get the sense of opening a can, the carbonation, but it’s cheaper and far fewer chemicals going into my body.  So far it’s been going well, just a little over a month and a half, and I’ve noticed my cravings for diet coke are now cravings for sparkling water.  I am now pounding the sparkling water, but I am ok with that.

Are there habits that you have that could be modified?  Doesn’t have to be something serious, but the book might be worth your read.


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