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Book Summary: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

The Power of Habit is a book by Charles Duhigg that explores the science behind habits and how they shape our lives. The book argues that habits are a powerful force that can either work for us or against us, depending on how we use them.


One of the key insights from the book is that habits are formed through a process called the "habit loop." This loop consists of three parts: a cue, a routine, and a reward. The cue is a trigger that prompts us to perform a certain behavior, the routine is the behavior itself, and the reward is the positive outcome we receive from performing the behavior. For example, if you have a habit of eating a piece of chocolate after a workout, the cue is the end of your workout, the routine is eating the chocolate, and the reward is the feeling of satisfaction you get from indulging in your favorite treat.


The book explains that habits are powerful because they operate on a subconscious level. Once a habit is ingrained in our brains, it becomes automatic and we don't have to think about it. This can be both good and bad. On the one hand, habits can help us perform tasks more efficiently because we don't have to waste energy on decision-making. On the other hand, bad habits can be difficult to break because they are so deeply ingrained in our minds.


The book also discusses how habits can be changed. According to Duhigg, the key to changing a habit is to identify the cue and the reward, and then replace the routine with a new behavior. For example, if you want to break the habit of snacking on junk food after dinner, you could try identifying the cue (feeling hungry after dinner) and the reward (the temporary satisfaction of eating something tasty). Once you have identified these factors, you can try replacing the routine of snacking on junk food with a healthier behavior, such as going for a walk or reading a book.


As a student athlete, the concepts discussed in The Power of Habit can be highly relevant and useful. For example, you can use the habit loop to your advantage by developing good habits that will help you succeed in your studies and in your sports. This might involve establishing a routine of studying at a certain time each day or going for a run before class. By consistently performing these behaviors, you can turn them into habits that will help you reach your goals.


On the other hand, you can also use the book's insights to help you break any bad habits that may be holding you back. This could be anything from procrastination to unhealthy eating habits. By understanding the habit loop and identifying the cues and rewards that drive these behaviors, you can work to replace them with more positive habits that will support your overall well-being and success.


The Power of Habit is a powerful and insightful book that can help anyone, including student athletes, understand and change the habits that shape their lives. By understanding the science behind habits, you can learn to use them to your advantage and achieve your goals.




Neil Wattier is a Mental Performance Coach leading science-backed performance coaching for athletes at all levels of sport performance. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona and an active member of the United States Air Force Reserve. He has helped individuals and teams realize their full potential while serving as a coach, advisor, and mentor to business executives, senior military leaders, young professionals, youth and adult athletes, fitness professionals, and faith communities.


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