The power of habit chapter summary
Blog Title : The Power of Habit By Charles Duhigg
Name : The Power of Habit Summary 
 
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The Power of Habit Summary
Habits, scientists say, emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort. Left to its own devices, the brain will try to make almost any routine into a habit, because habits allow our minds to ramp down more often. This effort-saving instinct is a huge advantage.
 
An efficient brain requires less room, which makes for a smaller head, which makes childbirth easier and therefore causes fewer infant and mother deaths.
 
Conserving mental effort is tricky, because if our brains power down at the wrong moment, we might fail to notice something important, such as a predator hiding in the bushes or a speeding car as we pull onto the street.
 
 First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future: 
THE HABIT LOOP 
Over time, this loop—cue, routine, reward; cue, routine, reward—becomes more and more automatic. The cue and reward become intertwined until a powerful sense of anticipation and craving emerges.
 
Habits aren’t destiny. As the next two chapters explain, habits can be ignored, changed, or replaced. But the reason the discovery of the habit loop is so important is that it reveals a basic truth:
 
When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. It stops working so hard, or diverts focus to other tasks. So unless you deliberately fight a habit—unless you find new routines—the pattern will unfold automatically.
 
simply understanding how habits work—learning the structure of the habit loop—makes them easier to control. Once you break a habit into its components, you can fiddle with the gears. 
 
Once we develop a routine of sitting on the couch, rather than running, or snacking whenever we pass a doughnut box, those patterns always remain inside our heads.
 
Without habit loops, our brains would shut down, overwhelmed by the minutiae of daily life. 
 
Researchers have learned that cues can be almost anything, from a visual trigger such as a candy bar or a television commercial to a certain place, a time of day, an emotion, a sequence of thoughts, or the company of particular people.
 
Habits are powerful, but delicate. They can emerge outside our consciousness, or can be deliberately designed. They often occur without our permission, but can be reshaped by fiddling with their parts.
 
Habits shape our lives far more than we realize—they are so strong, in fact, that they cause our brains to cling to them at the exclusion of all else, including common sense.  
 
 
Habits emerge without our permission. Studies indicate that families usually don’t intend to eat fast food on a regular basis. What happens is that a once a month pattern slowly becomes once a week, and then twice a week—as the cues and rewards create a habit.
 
But since we often don’t recognize these habit loops as they grow, we are blind to our ability to control them. By learning to observe the cues and rewards, though, we can change the routines.
How to Create New Habits 
First, find a simple and obvious cue. Second, clearly define the rewards.
 
Studies of people who have successfully started new exercise routines, for instance, show they are more likely to stick with a workout plan if they choose a specific cue, such as running as soon as they get home from work, and a clear reward, such as a beer or an evening of guilt-free television.
 
Research on dieting says creating new food habits requires a predetermined cue—such as planning menus in advance—and simple rewards for dieters when they stick to their intentions.
 
The habit loop is spinning because a sense of craving has emerged. 
 
This is how new habits are created: by putting together a cue, a routine, and a reward, and then cultivating a craving that drives the loop. 2.26 Take, for instance, smoking. 
 
When a smoker sees a cue—say, a pack of Marlboros—her brain starts anticipating a hit of nicotine. Just the sight of cigarettes is enough for the brain to crave a nicotine rush.
 
If you want to start running each morning, it’s essential that you choose a simple cue (like always lacing up your sneakers before breakfast or leaving your running clothes next to your bed) and a clear reward (such as a midday treat, a sense of accomplishment from recording your miles, or the endorphin rush you get from a jog). 
 
Only when your brain starts expecting the reward—craving the endorphins or sense of accomplishment—will it become automatic to lace up your jogging shoes each morning.
 
If you use the same cue, and provide the same reward, you can shift the routine and change the habit. Almost any behavior can be transformed if the cue and reward stay the same.
 
A smoker usually can’t quit unless she finds some activity to replace cigarettes when her nicotine craving is triggered.)
 
You Can’t Extinguish a Bad Habit, You Can Only Change It.
 
 If you want to stop smoking, ask yourself, do you do it because you love nicotine, or because it provides a burst of stimulation, a structure to your day, a way to socialize?
 
If you smoke because you need stimulation, studies indicate that some caffeine in the afternoon can increase the odds you’ll quit. 

The Power of habit Quotes :

If you identify the cues and rewards, you can change the routine.
 
If you want to lose weight, study your habits to determine why you really leave your desk for a snack each day, and then find someone else to take a walk with you, to gossip with at their desk rather than in the cafeteria.
 
If you want to change a habit, you must find an alternative routine, and your odds of success go up dramatically when you commit to changing as part of a group.
 
Belief is essential, and it grows out of a communal experience, even if that community is only as large as two people.
 
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