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4 Key Takeaways from The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Today we are going to review “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.

Think about the time when you have made a decision of no more junk food or maybe read every day. For a few weeks, these things go without any interruptions. We may feel proud of ourselves, but then there is one day when cravings overpower us! Before we know it, we are back to traditional habits. Does it sound familiar? If yes, then you know already know the potential of habits. However, where do habits derive power? In this post, you will find how habits go much deeper into the human psyche and human behavior which in turn influence our lives in many different ways. Although they make our lives much easier if you know how to open the door every time one can encounter these habits. Bad habits can create tremendous problems and even can ruin lives. Fortunately, by comprehending how can habits be implemented one can grasp how to navigate through their power. Therefore, let’s delve deeper into the world of habits.

Key Takeaway 1- Deciphering the Three-Part Loop

Essentially, habits can be explained as the cue of activities with respect to rewards which can help to loop it again. This process of converting this sequence of actions into an automatic routine can be explained as chunking. This forms the foundation of all the habits. These evolutions of a certain set of activities into routine allow the brain to conserve energy as well as perform the task effectively.

As per the research performed by Duke University, 40% of actions that we execute every day are fundamentally based on habits. Technically, all habits can be broken into three-set loops. The first aspect can be explained as the external cue that can be explained as the ringing of the alarm clock. It is referred as the alarm clock because it spikes up the brain activities as the brain evaluates which habits is more appropriate with reference to the situation. The second aspect of the habit can be explained as the routine incorporating the activities that are utilized to perform similar activities as a stack. For instance, in the morning we just march into the bathroom and pick up the brush since the brain is in autopilot. The third aspect of the loop is the reward which is a certain feeling of success. Like in this scenario, a fresh sensation in the mouth is the reward. The overall activities in the brain enhance as the brain registers the successful cumulation of activities. This reinforces the relationship between the routine and cue. Habits, therefore, become resilient!

Key Takeaway 2The Alternative one Routine for Another

In order to transform habits, we need to alternate one routine for another one and believe in the change. For instance, if you are really trying to cultivate the habit of reading and craving some other activities which are hard to ignore then it won’t work! The golden rule for quitting these habits is don’t resist the craving but rather redirect it. In better words, need to keep the same cues along with rewards however change the routine that can take place of craving. This habit replacement method can work wonders!

Key Takeaway 3- Developing milestone habits and small wins

Change can be attained by concentrating on a few milestone habits and celebrating the small wins! Certain habits are crucial as they can create a positive impact in various aspects of life. For instance, doctors have difficulty in assessing obese people to make a high-level changes in their lifestyle. However, while the patient concentrates on assessing the critical habit like maintaining a meticulous food journal various other positive habits start coming into the shape that can in turn trigger a cascade of changes.

We all bear responsibility for changing our habits. How movements are born

Key Takeaway 4-How movements can shape massive changes

You know about movements like Black Life Matters etc, how do they take place? A movement can only come into the picture if there are strong ties, new habits, and peer pressure.

Dating back to 1955, a black woman named Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat for a white man in Montgomery, Alabama. She was arrested and charged, then the events that followed made her a civil rights icon. Interestingly, her case though it’s become the most famous, was neither unique nor the first, many others had already been arrested for the same reason. So why did Parks’s arrests spark a busboy caught that lasted over a year? First of all, Rosa Parks was especially well-liked in the community and had an unusually broad array of friends. She belonged to many clubs and societies and was closely connected to all kinds of people, from professors to field hands. In fact, she was so active in her community that her husband would sometimes say she ate at potlucks more often than at home. Parks set what is known in sociology studies as strong ties that are first-hand relationships with plenty of people from across different social segments of our community. These ties not only bailed her out of jail, but they also spread the word of her arrest throughout Montgomery social strata, thus sparking the bus boycott. But her friends alone could not have sustained a lengthy boycott and her peer pressure. In addition to strong ties, social spheres also comprise weak ties, meaning acquaintances rather than friends. It is mostly via weak ties that peer pressure is exerted. When a person’s larger network of friends and acquaintances supports a movement, it is harder to opt-out. Eventually, commitment to the boycott began waning in the black community. The city officials began introducing new car-pooling rules to make life without buses increasingly difficult. This is when the final component was added, the speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., advocating non-violence and asking participants to embrace and forgive their oppressors. Based on this message, people began to form new habits, such as independently organizing church meetings and peaceful protests. They made the movement a self-propelling force.


The core message from this book is to form habits that are not only an essential part of our lives but also can shape organizations. All habits usually consist of routine, cues followed by a reward loop, and the best way to change is with the help of substitutes for the routine. However, while we are substituting it is essential to keep the reward and cue the same. Attaining the changes that last is challenging however while concentrating on the milestone habits like willpower things can fall into pieces. One such keystone habit that you can easily adopt is reading every day before you go to sleep or if you are a morning person read a post/chapter before beginning your day. Research has shown that this can both increase your general well-being and boost your overall productivity. In the end, I would like to leave you with a powerful message, Change might not be fast and it isnt always easy. But with the time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped – Charles Duhigg

Hope you have a productive week ahead!


Bibliophile Parul


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Hey there, I'm Parul, working in one of the Big 4s of consulting! 💼

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