How often do you read? It is often said that the person you will be in 5 years depends on who you meet and the books you read. I agree with that and try everyday to read even if it is just a few pages. Sometimes, that reading is books, sometimes it is online articles and posts, but I try to learn something everyday.
Most of the books I read are from the public library so I take notes (if you want to know how I take notes, here is a post that explains how I read a book) My goal each week is to take one idea, one takeaway, from the books I read and apply that concept in my life and business. The number of concepts I gather from each book varies but there is always at least one. Some are just interesting quotes or passages but a few are actionable ideas.
Today I am going to discuss a takeaway idea from the book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. This book does a great job at explaining habits, how they are structured, and how they dominate our lives. It really opened up my eyes to how often my habits take over and I end up operating on autopilot. If you have ever made it to work or home without specifically remembering how you got there, you know what I mean. This book will help you understand those times and many, many others.
Takeaway #1 from The Power of Habit
This takeaway idea is from page 20,
So unless you deliberately fight a habit – unless you find new routines – the pattern will unfold automatically.
A habit is an amazing thing. In survival terms, it helps us do more with less brain input. Imagine if you had to think about and decide which way to turn out of your own driveway to go to the store. Consider how much will power you would use to decide to go to work each day instead of just staying home. Yes, working is a habit, as it getting up early, getting ready for work, what order you get dresses, etc. All of those habits have an effect on our lives, decision making, and will power.
It is generally agreed that each of us have a limited capacity will power each day. That is one reason why most people are prone to eating unhealthy snacks at the end of a hard day; we don’t have have the excess will power to fight those urges. At the end of a meal, do you get dessert? Are you eating because you are hungry or because that is what you always do?
This particular takeaway idea talks about our control over habits. We can fight a habit, such as eating dessert after every meal, but we have to be deliberate about it. We have to want to change and to be mindful of our actions. Otherwise, the habit will take over and before we know it, the whole cheese cake is gone in a week and we are 5 pounds heavier. Will power plays a role in a situation like this, if you want to succeed, you have to change your habits.
At the end of the book, Mr Duhigg explains the habit cycle and how you we can use it to our advantage. By understanding the structure of our habits, we can use them to our advantage. It is amazing how our behavior and ultimately, our lives, can be transformed by something as simple as a habit.
If you haven’t read it yet, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg is a great book and I highly suggest that you put it on your reading list. Remember, just one idea can change your life. This takeaway idea is just a small piece of the great ideas in the book. Go read it for yourself and let it change your life.
If you are looking for more great information about the book, check out this interview with the author by Andy Traub on the Linchpin Podcast over at the Take Permission Media Network. For more takeaway ideas, check out the list of related posts at the bottom of the page.
How can you take deliberate action and change your life through your habits?