Good Habits Knock Out Bad Habits

Each individual has their own bad habits, whether it be eating too much, sleeping too little, surfing the web at work time, or something more disastrous. Many have no control over these habits, and the inability to create and maintain good ones in their place affects the overall well-being of one’s life.

There is a book that specifically discusses this. Penned by Charles Duhigg, a business reporter with the New York Times, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and in Business, discusses how one can control bad habits such as complaining too much to coworkers, dragging our feet with difficult tasks, and even going against established office routines.

The premise of the book is quite simple. He breaks down habits into a simple system where there is a routine, a cue and reward. He then discusses cases of psychological research and reaches a conclusion that while habits may be strong, they also have their weak points. Thus when attacked, these habits crumble and fall. The book advises that instead of actively stopping the habit, analyze what cues the habit that leads you to the routine and what reward is obtained after performing that. Changing either the cue or reward makes the routine easily replaceable with a better one. While psychologists debate about the willpower of the individual, this premise removes willpower and merely focuses on the structure of the habits. In tweaking the structure, the brain will soon adapt the behavior automatically, regardless of will or intent.

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