Introduction – The Power of Habit

the power of habitDo your habits control You? To many of you, this question may be easy to answer with a resounding, “No, my habits don’t control me. I control them and can stop or change my habits whenever I want.” In his book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg – an award-winning New York Times business reporter – explores the “scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed (Amazon Summary).” He also delves into how much habits actually do control our thoughts, feelings, and actions and offers insightful suggestions on how we can change our bad habit loops into good habit loops.

The Power of Habit Overview

Warning: May contain spoilers!

Throughout The Power of Habit, Duhigg gives stories and scientific evidence showing how people have overcome one debilitating habit, which in turn changed their entire lives. He shares the story of a thirty-four year old woman who had started drinking and smoking when she was sixteen. She also struggled with obesity. Knowing her situation was dire, she made a decision to change one of her habits. She began to replace smoking with jogging. Within four years after her decision, she had lost over 60 pounds, quit smoking and drinking, ran in a marathon, and improved her financial situation. This all from simply changing one bad habit.

The Power of Habit Summary

Duhigg goes on to share many more inspiring stories to prove his hypothesis. There is a quote from The Power of Habit that stuck with me after reading the book. This quote sums the entire book and provides insight into how doing small things each day can transform your life. He states:

Small wins are exactly what they sound like, and are part of how keystone habits create widespread changes. ‘Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favor another small win.’ Small wins fuel transformative changes by leveraging tiny advantages into patterns that convince people that bigger achievements are within reach.

This is exemplified when you see someone who has been obese his entire life and then changes his body type into a lean fitness machine within a matter of months. What did he do to achieve such dramatic changes? It didn’t happen overnight. He changed certain keystone habits, such as replacing an unhealthy snack with a nutritious one, as well as daily exercise. These small changes done consistently on a daily basis lead to dramatic, positive changes.

My Assessment of The Power of Habit

In my honest opinion, I give The Power of Habit 5 stars out of 5. The stories that Duhigg relates in the book are both entertaining and inspiring. His hypotheses are validated through the scientific research given for each story as well. Some will say that Duhigg fails to offer exactly how to change our bad habits into good ones. I beg to differ because each one of us have different habits. His description of the habit loop – the cue, the routine, the reward – is sufficient enough. By changing the cues and rewards of our habits, we will dramatically change our routines in a positive manner.


In summary, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg suggests that we act unconsciously as a result of our habits that we have programmed within our brains. By recognizing our bad keystone habits – as well as their cues and rewards – we can change our lives.

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