The Power of Habit
Anyone who has interacted with me over the last two weeks has 100% heard me raving about how phenomenal this book is. I literally can’t stop 1. telling people about it and 2. promising to lend out my copy (I’ve probably told 3 or 4 people they could borrow it when I was done. Oops.)
This has been my first summer in Austin in three years and also the first I’ve had time to reevaluate my habits and analyze my routines more closely.
You guys… This book is seriously so eye opening. It has taught me so much about myself, other individuals, how businesses operate under habits, and how habits have literally changed society and culture in the last 100 years from marketing tactics to the civil rights movement. After every chapter I’d call my mom so I could tell her all about it. Reading this book gave me that incredible feeling you get from going to a class and then walking out knowing you learned something new and exciting.
This book is primarily research and story based. The author is a well written journalist that kept me engaged the entire time. There is a chapter that explores how habits are used in football and I was still following along. With every page turn I was excited to see what he was going to present next. This book covers alcoholism, drug addiction, smoking, gambling, overeating, and just about anything else you could imagine.
Fair warning though: This book isn’t a step by step manual on how to fix every bad habit in your life. It shows you the science and research that’s been done for the last several decades on how habits affect our everyday lives and the reoccurring patterns they’ve seen throughout hundreds of patients.
A lot of it talks about the habit cycle: cue, routine, and reward. This cycle is the foundation of all of our habits, and in order to alter it we must first identify it’s components. Not only that, but by altering what is called a “keystone habit” you can unthinkingly change tons of other bad habits in your life! Going for a run every morning could also positively impact your diet, spending/saving habits, social interactions, etc.
When I saw this book, I thought it would “fix my life”, but instead it gave me the mindset and tools to do it myself.
One habit that I’ve fallen into lately is staying up way too late and sleeping in (thanks, summer). This book has helped me to think about approaching it in an entirely different way. Right now I’m experimenting with finding the right cue to help me achieve going to bed earlier, whether that's bedtime meditation, plugging in my phone across the room an hour before I want to sleep, or doing less work in my room so my bed is the literal visual cue.
This last year has actually been really successful for me in terms of changing habits! I actively started making coffee at home in the mornings rather than going to Starbucks. This typically meant setting out my reusable cup and starting the coffee maker as soon as I woke up. I’ve also successfully incorporated sunscreen into my daily skincare routine! By setting my sunscreen next to my moisturizer my mind automatically associates the two together every morning. This was something I was especially proud of, particularly because of how important daily sunscreen application is! I’ve noticed such a change in the last few months alone.
I’ve included another link to the book here, but I recommend checking your local library or bookstore for a copy before buying online.
If you read or have read this book, let me know!! I would LOVE to have a conversation about it. I could go on talking about this book for hours.
(Also, do you enjoy these book posts? If so, I’ll make sure to start sharing more!)