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The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

June 20th, 2013 at 03:31 pm

I just finished reading this book for a company "book club" discussion. (As a matter of fact, I stayed up till almost 2 a.m. last night to finish on time, so I'm exhausted and feeling a bit spacy at this point in the day!)

Anyway, it was fascinating. I haven't read all the endnotes and references to try and see how reputable the author's information is, but I found the overall premise -- that habits and the basal ganglia part of our brain control much more of our lives than we give them credit for (we think much more of our actions are based on conscious thinking and decision-making) -- so interesting. And I've heard similar things from various sources, so I don't think he's making it up.

His other point is that habits, though very powerful because they're unconscious, are also delicate, and can be fiddled with to change things around.

I may try to write a more coherent, detailed post about it on my ordinarysavers.com site sometime, maybe next week. I'm also going to try and examine some of my flaws and things I don't like about my own habits, to see if I can apply his theory to rewire some of them and produce more desirable behaviors. Duhigg says you can be scientific, trying to isolate the separate elements of the habits, experimenting with different substitutes until you find one that works. Could be interesting.

My weight has been creeping up lately, so one thing I'm trying to do immediately is install a strength training habit into my daily routine. AS was doing this before our vacation, and she's trying to get back into it. Since I rarely feel like getting into workout clothes and doing a full circuit of weight training, I'm trying AS's method of 5 minutes when I wake up, 5 minutes before I go to bed. Combine that with the 20 minutes walk to daycare and I've got my recommended half hour of exercise per day!

Currently, my goal (which I accomplished Wednesday and this morning, so far so good) is 25 ab crunches, 10 girl pushups and 10 squats, every morning and every night. I don't get out the mat or dress in workout clothes, just do them wherever I am in whatever outfit I happen to be in when I remember to do it.

I'm also trying to re-institute my rule of no late-night snacks. Herbal tea will be my substitute when the urge seems overhwelming. It worked last year when I was doing my big calorie-counting push, so hopefully it will work even if I don't get back into counting calories.

We'll see how it goes!

1 Responses to “The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg”

  1. PauletteGoddard Says:

    Currently, my goal (which I accomplished Wednesday and this morning, so far so good) is 25 ab crunches, 10 girl pushups and 10 squats, every morning and every night. I don't get out the mat or dress in workout clothes, just do them wherever I am in whatever outfit I happen to be in when I remember to do it.
    I have to do this. My stupid excuse was that I didn't have my exercise outfit on. As long as I have something that is not a skirt, I can do the crunches pushups and squats. I like fitting into my pants again and want to maintain the progress I have made.

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