The habit of finishing a book isn’t as strong as it used to be. I finished a lot more books when I was younger. Now I have less time and patience, and frequently abandon them.
But I finished the habit book. I like that it’s not really a “self help” book, yet it is helpful, and full of interesting stories.
You should buy it. It’s a dollar less for the outrageously overpriced and socially harmful ebook version this week. Or buy the paper edition. I wish I had gone for paper. I don’t feel the need as strongly to own books these days, but I still have the desire. This one would be nice to have sitting around, reminding me to think about habits. I would occasionally flip through it and recall its lessons. (Oh, god, I’m not going to buy the outrageously overpriced ebook and the paper book, am I?)
I bet you have habits you’d like to change. And you will be interested to learn more about how companies like Target are diligently studying and influencing your habits. (You already know that, of course, but it’s fascinating to learn some details.)
And once you understand that habits can change, you have the freedom — and the responsibility — to remake them. Once you understand that habits can be rebuilt, the power of habit becomes easier to grasp, and the only option left is to get to work.
– Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit
I’m working on at least one new habit, or rather, the modification of an existing exercise habit. I’ve been doing twenty minutes on the elliptical every morning, first thing. I let the dogs out (and back in), and feed them, and then it’s time to exercise. It’s cold in the house and the basement, but I turn the big fan on and I get going.
I like exercising. The exercise is its own reward. I enjoy feeling healthier and virtuous. The difficulty lies in triggering “the habit loop.” So I’m making it the first thing I do.
I put my workout clothes on the bathroom vanity at night so I’ll see them when I get up. That’s part of the cue. The main part of the cue will be that it’s morning and I’ve just woken up. Those two events reliably happen every day. They will inevitably lead to a workout. That’s the habit I’m trying for.
I’ve previously wanted to establish the writing habit as the first thing I do after dealing with the dogs, and had mixed success. I’ve done some writing, but I goof off more often than not. The writing habit is harder for me to develop. I reasoned that I shouldn’t use the prime morning hours on a “lower priority” like exercise. Writing must come first. But so many days go by with no writing, or the writing happens too late.
After reading the book, and after failing at writing so much, I’m now looking at exercise as a more important “keystone” habit. It’s something I can do, if I just start. It’s a win. I feel better. I’ve done something good. (It helps that I’ve already developed a habit of getting up early enough to do something.)
And now, look! I’ve written something, too.