Power of Habit

Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Monday - January 1, 2018

To change a habit, you must identify the queue and reward of it. When a queue is triggered, you must replace your negative habit with a positive one that reaps a similar reward.

You can replace a bad habit with a positive one.

Small decisions over time build up into who you are.

40% of the actions people do a day are habit rather than unique decisions.

Monkey experiment: when certain shape on screen monkey pulls lever and gets juice. When they don’t get the juice they get antsy and frustrated

People that keep habits have a reward of achievement

Example: if you want to run, set a cue such as lacing up running shoes at breakfast or leave workout clothes by bed before you sleep. Set a clear goal such as recording your miles, a treat or the rush you get

Your brain needs to crave the reward and once it does everything becomes automatic.

When junk food is out our brain) craves the food and it becomes hard to resist.

Good habits are formed the same way bad habits are.

Your products need to convince people that it is working

There were many companies that competed against pepsodent and had similar problems however pepsodent was the one that actually sold the most why were the other such a failure when pepsodent was successful for longer. Pepsodent gave people a tingly feeling in their mouth due to the ingredients that were in it. The tingling feeling made people feel like the product is working better then the rest. If they try to compete in product and didn’t get that Tango, their brains would be craving it

To set a habit you need to have a Q & a reward

Cravings Drive habits

You can never truly extinguish bad habits. You must keep the old queue and deliver the old reward. Just change the new routine.

A smoker usually can’t quit cigarettes unless they could find a new habit when the nicotine urge comes in


Paul O’Neill became the CEO of Alcoa. For his first speech he made one promise and that was to increase safety for workers.

As a CEO of Alcoa, we did wonders to profits and stock value.

If you change a keystone habit, this can leave to positivity in other areas.

Paul never promised that increasing safety would increase profits, but it did. Costs came down, profits went up, and productivity skyrocketed.

Keystone habit: Exercise is a keystone habit that helps you in other areas of life.

If you focus on cultivating or changing keystone habits, you can make major shifts in all areas of your life.

Identifying keystone habits could be tricky.


Michael Phelps has an obsessive personality which is essential to be a champion.

Phelps’ biggest advantage was creating mental and physical habits that set himself up for success.

For example, he would watch his swimming tapes every night and invision the perfect race. He’d watch it over and over again until he knew every single detail.

“Small Win”

Small wins are essential to keystone habits.

Small wins lead to many positive changes.

Cold turkey doesn’t work

Typically, when someone tries to make a drastic life change - such as going from a fatty diet to a very strict diet.

It has been shown that over time, people give up using cold turkey.

There was a study of 1600 obese people. They were told to write down everything they ate for 6 weeks.

Eventually writing down food logs became a habit. They started noticing habits that they didn’t know existed.

Some noticed they snacked at 10am, so they kept a banana on their desk for mid morning munchies.

Food Journaling was a keystone habit


It was found that the most successful people at military academy are the ones with grit.

The ones that stayed focused and motivated over the whole period of time no matter adversity or failure.


Willpower / Discipline is the most important keystone habit to success.

There was a study on 4 year olds. They were offered a deal that they could have one marshmallow right away, or if they wait two minutes, they could have two.

30% managed to ignore their urges.

Willpower is a learn-able skill.

Willpower is a muscle that gets tired as it works harder. It builds self-regulatory strength.

Writing goals down

After hip surgery, patients were given special notebooks to write down their goals to rehabilitation (ex. Walk a quarter of a mile by the end of the week)

It was shown that those who wrote down their goals in their notebook recovered much faster.

The most successful patients’ plans were very specific - detailing minute-by-minute pains they would encounter and how they would get past them.

“The patient crafted self discipline into a habit”

The patients who hadn’t written anything down were at a disadvantage because they didn’t go over how they would overcome problems.

Willpower routines @ Starbucks

Starbucks released manuals dealing with what routines employees should do when their willpower was running low dealing with a customer.

How to respond to certain ques.

The latte method:

Listen to the customer

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