Success: 5 Lessons I Learned from "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg | College Info Geek

Whether you’re a UC Davis student or not, College Info Geek has a lot of great tips on how to improve your life  both in and out of college. This video may make you more productive or help you kill your annoying habit that’s causing you roommate drama. In this video, Thomas Frank gives you his 5 Lessons I Learned from “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. Here are the basics:

1. The Habit Loop

Habits can be broken down into a 3-part “habit loop”, which is composed of:

  1. A cue
  2. A routine
  3. A reward

A cue has to trigger a habit, otherwise that habit isn’t going to run.

In this way, habits are much like “if/then” statements in coding languages; a condition needs to be met for the code in the statement to run.

2. Habit Cue Categories

Almost all habit cues fall into one of five categories:

  1. Location
  2. Time
  3. Emotional state
  4. Other people
  5. The immediately preceding action

If you have a habit of eating a donut during the day, the cue for eating that donut could be any one of these. Maybe you get a little hungry around 3:00pm in the afternoon, or maybe you pass a donut shop on your way to work.

In the book, Duhigg mentions that he used to have a habit of getting a cookie on most workday afternoons.

After analyzing the habit, he realized the main cue that triggered it was an emotional desire for socializing. Getting the cookie usually included standing up and going to talk with co-workers for a while.

3. Craving

There’s actually a fourth component to the habit loop: craving. 

When a habit is in the initial stages of being built, the brain’s reward response – essentially a dopamine spike – is activated when the habit’s reward is received. Makes sense, right?

However, as the habit becomes more ingrained, this changes. Eventually, the reward response happens right after the cue triggers the habit. It happens in anticipation of the reward.

This creates a craving to get that reward, and serves to keep the habit going strong.

4. Planning for Pain

The books talks a lot about how to change habits, but one of the most interesting parts I remember reading about had to do with patients of knee replacement surgeries.

Knee replacement requires rigorous rehabilitation exercises after the operation, which are essential to a full recovery. However, they’re really painful to go through. Many patients can’t muster the willpower, and they never recover.

Researchers learned that the patients who wrote out a plan of what they’d do at inflection points – times where going forward is painful – were much more successful at recovering.

The lesson here is that planning in advance on how to deal with the times where the motivation quit is high will help to keep you from actually quitting.

Source: 5 Lessons I Learned from “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg | College Info Geek