the power of habit


Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit , has been on my reading list for several months. And last week, I was lucky enough to hear Duhigg speak at a conference I attended.

His talk was fascinating. He detailed how we form habits—by basically getting sucked into a “cue > routine > reward” loop that we end up repeating day after day. He also explained how we can break habits, by changing the reward to interrupt the loop. (All of that in detail here.)

But the point that most resonated with me was about willpower. Duhigg mentioned that in children, willpower is the one trait that most corresponds with future success. Willpower, studies have shown, is a greater predictor of success than intelligence, socio-economic background, education, etc. It’s strong stuff.

Over the past year, I’ve been focusing on the power of positivity and optimism. Mainly, how really, truly believing in yourself and your abilities can make things happen. It hasn’t been easy. It’s so much easier to fall back into the old habit of self-doubt.

Now that I know willpower has scientifically been proven to make things happen, I’m going to use that to interrupt that “cue > routine > reward” loop. When I feel self-doubt creeping in, I’m going to remember that the payoff—whatever goal I have in mind—will be realized as long as I keep believing. That will hopefully change my negative thinking habit, for good.

Duhigg also mentioned that habits are easiest to modify during times of change. So if you’re in a period of upheaval, then all the more reason to stay positive. Good things will be coming soon!

believe in yourself a little more

Have you read The Power of Habit? What did you think about it?

(Image via Pen and Paper—first found via my ballet teacher’s Facebook page!)