It shows how Procter & Gamble turned a spray named Febreze into a billion-dollar business by taking advantage of consumers’ habitual urges, how Alcoholics Anonymous reforms lives by attacking habits at the core of addiction, and how coach Tony Dungy reversed the fortunes of the worst team in the National Football League by focusing on
This book is divided into three parts. The first section focuses on how habits emerge within individual lives. It explores the neurology of habit formation, how to build new habits and change old ones, and the methods, for instance, that one ad man used to push tooth-brushing from an obscure practice into a national obsession.
One paper published by a Duke University researcher in 2006 found that more than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day weren’t actual decisions, but habits. William James-like countless others, from Aristotle to Oprah-spent much of his life trying to understand why habits exist. But only in the past two decades have scientists
“All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits,” William James wrote in 1892. Most of the choices we make each day may feel like the products of well-considered decision making, but they’re not. They’re habits. And though each habit means relatively little on its own, over time,
When you woke up this morning, what did you do first? Did you hop in the shower, check your email, or grab a doughnut from the kitchen counter? Did you brush your teeth before or after you toweled off? Tie the left or right shoe first? What did you say to your kids on your
Lisa was the scientists’ favorite participant because her brain scans were so compelling, so useful in creating a map of where behavioral patterns-habits-reside within our minds. “You’re helping us understand how a decision becomes an automatic behavior,” the doctor told her. Everyone in the room felt like they were on the brink of something important.
“I want to show you one of your most recent scans,” a researcher told Lisa near the end of her exam. He pulled up a picture on a computer screen that showed images from inside her head. “When you see food, these areas”-he pointed to a place near the center of her brain-“which are associated
It wasn’t the trip to Cairo that had caused the shift, scientists were convinced, or the divorce or desert trek. It was that Lisa had focused on changing just one habit-smoking-at first. Everyone in the study had gone through a similar process. By focusing on one pattern-what is known as a “keystone habit” – Lisa
Over the next six months, she would replace smoking with jogging, and that, in tum, changed how she ate, worked, slept, saved money, scheduled her workdays, planned for the future, and so on. She would start running half-marathons, and then a marathon, go back to school, buy a house, and get engaged. Eventually she was
When Lisa finally made her way across the desert eleven months later-in an air-conditioned and motorized tour with a half-dozen other people, mind you-the caravan carried so much water, food, tents, maps, global positioning systems, and two-way radios that throwing in a carton of cigarettes wouldn’t have made much of a difference. But in the