How Habits Work

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Have you started thinking about making a New Years’ resolution yet? Our challenge will be overcoming old or starting new habits. One study showed only 46% of people who made a resolution were successful after 6 months.

According to The Power of Habit author Charles Duhigg, who gathered the latest scientific research, habits work in a loop. They start with a cue—something we experience in the environment regularly. Every response to that cue sets a pattern—a neurological pathway in our brain. Repeating the same response makes the nerve path stronger. That path leads to some reward, which the brain may register with a release of chemicals that are calming or pleasurable. That sends us back into the loop, so that we can get another reward. The craving for that reward is the power that fuels the cycle.

To start, stop, or change habits, we have to intervene somewhere on that cycle—at the cue, the routine, or reward. To start a running habit, for example, laying out clothes the night before can be the cue to start your new routine. To spend less time on Facebook, turning off the notifications eliminates the cue.

Watch an excellent interview with Charles Duhigg on his book The Power of Habit here:

Here’s Duhigg’s website with more information about habits and productivity:

Start a habit of leadership & soft skill learning @ Soft Power Skills Academy.
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