The power of habit: Why we do what we do in life and business


Habits are the core of our lives. They shape our days, our weeks, our years. They are the invisible architects of our existence, and we are often unaware of their power.

We all have habits. Some of them are good, like exercising regularly or eating a healthy diet. Others are not so good, like spending too much time on the internet or overeating.

But why do we have habits in the first place? And why do some habits stick while others don’t?

The answer lies in the fact that habits are powerful because they are automatic. They are things we do without thinking, and that’s what makes them so hard to break.

Think about it: when you first learned to drive, it was probably pretty scary. Every action required your full attention and focus.

But now, after years of practice, you can get behind the wheel and automatically drive to your destination without even thinking about it.

Habits are like that. They become automatic over time, and that’s why they’re so hard to break.

But the good news is, if we can understand how habits work, we can use that knowledge to create better habits for ourselves.

Here’s how it works:

All habits have three components:

1. The cue: This is the trigger that tells your brain to go into autopilot and start the habit.

2. The routine: This is the actual behavior you perform when you’re in autopilot mode.

3. The reward: This is what your brain gets after it completes the routine.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these components.

1. The Cue

The cue is the trigger that starts the habit. It can be something external, like seeing a friend light a cigarette, or something internal, like feeling stressed out.

Cues can be either positive or negative. Positive cues, like getting a text from a friend, can trigger a good habit, like going for a run.

Negative cues, like feeling stressed, can trigger a bad habit, like smoking a cigarette.

2. The Routine

The routine is the actual behavior you perform when you’re in autopilot mode. It can be something as simple as putting your hand in your pocket to check your phone or taking a bite of food.

Routines can be either good or bad. Good routines, like exercising, can lead to positive outcomes, like improved health.

Bad routines, like overeating, can lead to negative outcomes, like weight gain.

3. The Reward

The reward is what your brain gets after it completes the routine. Rewards can be either positive or negative.

Positive rewards, like the satisfaction of completing a task, can lead to positive outcomes, like improved motivation.

Negative rewards, like the relief of escaping a stressful situation, can lead to negative outcomes, like addiction.

Now that we understand the components of a habit, let’s take a look at how they work together.

When a cue is present, it triggers the routine, which leads to the reward.

Over time, this process becomes automatic, and the habit is formed.

The key to creating a new habit is to find a way to make the cue and the reward work together.

For example, if you want to form the habit of exercising, you could cue yourself by putting your workout clothes on as soon as you wake up.

The reward could be the satisfaction of completing your workout or the improved health you’ll experience from exercising regularly.

To make a habit stick, it’s important to find a cue and a reward that work for you.

And once you find them, the key is to be consistent.

The more you repeat the cue and the reward, the stronger the habit will become.

The power of habit is amazing. It can help us achieve our goals and improve our lives. But it can also be a force for harm if we’re not careful.

The key is to be aware of the habits we have and to make sure they’re working for us, not against us.

If you want to learn more about the power of habit and how to create better habits for yourself, I recommend reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

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