A journalist at The New York Times Charles Duhigg, the author of the book â€œThe Power of Habit,â€ offers a scientific approach to this notion based on fundamental studies of habit formation mechanisms, in which were studied both animals (rats, mice, etc.) and people. The first part of his research is called â€œThe habits of individuals,â€ and it is devoted to the peculiarities of this phenomenon, creation of the new habits and its transformation. It is not fiction literature; that is why every example is followed by the scientific discourse.
It is proved by the author that any habit has three elements â€“ â€œthree-step loopâ€ â€“ â€œcue, routine and rewardâ€. Once doing some action and getting the reward, one begins to strive for it again. After several repetitions of the action, which was once realized, it becomes almost unconscious and habit-forming. People stop noticing these skills. According to this research, â€œWithout habit loops, our brains would shut down, overwhelmed by the minutiae of daily life. People whose basal ganglia are damaged by injury or disease often become mentally paralyzedâ€.
The chapter â€œThe craving brainâ€ is mostly connected with a phenomenon of habit in business and marketing spheres. The author refers to the Claude Hopkins’ techniques of promoting and selling goods made by the most famous enterprises in the world. According to Ch. Duhigg, Hopkins is considered to be a god in advertising industry, which created the â€œcravingâ€ for toothpaste demand and so on.
The famous journalist addresses the topic of bad habits in the chapter called â€œThe golden rule of habit changeâ€. The key idea is if the habit is formed, it is almost impossible to change, but you can replace the action with the “bad” to “good”, leaving the trigger and award the same. For this, we need to determine the trigger (it can be a stressful time of day or some situation) and the reward (which may not be quite what it seems at first glance) and then come up with the useful activity, which would give the same result. â€œThe evidence is clear: If you want to change a habit, you must find an alternative routine, and your odds of success go up dramatically when you commit to changing as part of a groupâ€.
To conclude, in this book, the phenomenon of habit is regarded not only from the psychological point of view but also from philosophical, social and pragmatic, which gives a complete picture of this notion.