Well Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit, certainly plants that idea as he tells us why we do what we do in life and business.
We may think we choose our course every day, but Duhigg, an investigative reporter for the New York Times, says most of what we do is based on habit.
So the next question is do we have good habits, and if we don’t like some of them, how do we change them?
Recently Duhigg’s book was reviewed in Wired magazine: “One of the keys to success in life is instilling good habits. Habits are about organic efficiency. They do not distinguish between what is good for you and what is bad for you. Does that leave us out of control? Or can we hack our habits by exploiting the habit-forming routine?”
Wired says, “One of the more controversial stories in the book tells how Target identifies a customer is pregnant and then focus related advertising on the soon-to-be mother. Target realized that lucrative baby supply purchasing habits are already formed by the time the baby arrives so the retailer wanted to change habits before the baby came. The sooner customers started coming to Target for their baby needs, the better. Target figured out to hack habits.”
“The Febreeze story tells how marketing scientists focus on the habits of cleaning. Febreeze was scent-free. A person would spray it, but the application wouldn’t produce a sensory trigger to create a habit from using it. They added a fresh scent and advertised it for use as the final step in cleaning. “No one craves scentlessness. On the other hand, lots of people crave a nice smell after they’ve spent thirty minutes cleaning. The addition of scent turned Febreeze from a smart product into a billion dollar product.”
The book focuses on individuals, organizations and societies with details on how habits can be broken, reset, and persist. Replacing one routine with a better one comes up in Alcoholics Anonymous replacing (drinking to feel better) with another routine (going to meetings and talking about addiction to feel better). The goal is to re-wire the mind to appreciate and seek out the new routine.”
For those who see the possibilities, Duhigg suggests “Once you break a habit into components, you can fiddle with the gears. To change a habit, you need to keep the old cue and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine. The hard part is discovering the cue and reward. Some habits are keystone habits that trigger other good habits. Studies show families who eat together seem to have children with better homework skills. Making your bed each morning is correlated with better productivity. It’s not that these keystone habits cause the other good habits. They just seem to help other habits form.”
Wired notes the book is filled with primary sources and research papers. If you want to take it further, The Power of Habit could make it easy.
Story Credit: http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2012/04/the-power-of-habit/
Image Credit: http://blog.emeals.com/new-year-new-you/
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