20 Powerful Lessons from the book ‘The Power of Habit’

20 Powerful Lessons from the book ‘The Power of Habit’

1/ The power of Habit: Habits are certain shortcuts that emerge in our brains – because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort. Once the short cut is created, then the actions happen automatically.

2/ Habits are triggered whenever a chunk of behaviour starts or ends. During the first phase, there is a trigger or a cue that tells the brain to move into habit mode and also specifies which habit to use. The second phase is routine – where everything happens automatically. Then there is the third phase of reward which tells the brain whether the habit is worth remembering for the future. Over time, the phases become more and more automated.

3/ It is the craving that drives the habit loop – cue, routine and reward.

4/ Once habits are formed, its tough to stop executing them. The mind craves for the habit and its associated reward.

5/ To speed up our habit creation, we need a cue, a routine, a reward (all a part of the habit loop) ,and additionally, a craving for the reward. e.g. to quickly create a habit for morning walk, have a cue (get up with sport shoes by the side of the bed, think about the reward (a lavish breakfast) and keep thinking about the reward, till it creates enough craving, and then follow the process.

6/ Habits never go off, but they can be changed. The rule to change an existing habit is to keep the same cue and the same reward, and change the routine.

7/ It was observed that the addicts who practiced the techniques of habit replacement as per the above philosophy stayed with the new habits, but only until a stressful event occurred in their lives, at which point most start to go back to their addiction – no matter how much they had practiced. However, those addicts who had, by this time, started to have belief in God or in themselves, could scrape through this stressful time. It wasn’t precisely God, but belief itself that made the difference. Belief is what made the new habit loop absolutely permanent.

8/ Massive transformations happen in people’s life when they are faced with adversity. An equal transformation can also happen when people are associated with the right social groups. Both play a vital role in upping our belief levels.

9/ Belief is easier when it occurs within a community – when people come together to help each other.

10/ There are certain keystone habits that help us establish many other habits. In real life, as an example, eating dinner with family, making your bed in the morning, going for a regular walk or exercise – these are “small wins”. Once these are established as habits, they start influencing our mood, and many other habits and causes major shifts in our life

11/ Small Wins do not have a small impact. They bring you in the habit of winning. They may not have a linear or direct relationship with your goal, but they can change your mindset to a winning mindset which is quite likely yo have a positive impact on your goal.

12/ Just writing a daily journal of the food we eat is a keystone habit, that can play in our mind to change the way we think about food, nutrition and what we should be eating. A real experiment showed that those who kept a daily journal lost twice the weight than those who did not. Same goes with tracking your expenses every day. Just the act of daily tracking is good enough to control your expenses.

13/ Willpower is the single most important keystone habit for individual success. As an example, it has been proven that self discipline (a thread of willpower keystone habit) has the biggest effect on academic performance, much higher than even intellectual talent.

14/ Willpower is not just a skill. If it was a skill, it should stay nearly the same through the day. Willpower is like a muscle, just like the muscles in your arms or legs. It gets tired as it works harder – so there is less power left as the day progresses and you use this power in various activities. That’s a strong reason to justify that maximum family issues occur during the evening or night with the partners losing patience, when the willpower has mostly been consumed in the day.

15/ Once willpower becomes stronger (doesn’t matter how – through regular walking, studying, financial budgeting, gyming etc.), it starts to positively impact every other field.

16/ People want to be in control of their lives. Giving employees more power to take decisions improves their self discipline enormously, rather than giving them specific set of instructions to follow the process.

17/ In most organizations, there is always a delicate balance between all departments, each head trying to defend and nurture their own departments. But in extreme cases, it should be clear that which department, or person, goal needs to take ownership and overshadow everyone else.

18/ A company with dysfunction habits cannot turn around just because a leader orders it. Wise executives seek out moment of crisis – or create the perception of crisis, which cultivates the sense among everyone that something must change. The crisis time should never be wasted. Its an opportunity when everyone is open to change. That’s the time to hit the hammer.

19/ The behaviours that occur unthinkingly are the evidence of our truest selves. And these behaviours are an outcome of automated habits.

20/ With practice and patience, and going through the habit loop, any habit can be changed.

Hope these 20 powerful lessons will help shape up your thought process to some extent and help you manage your life much better.

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