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Power of Habit: 3 Ways to Change Bad Habits into Good Ones

Habits are leading your life and the more you know about the power of habit, the easier it will be for you to use these habits to your advantage. Make good things habitual activities and get rid of the counterproductive habits.

Change your life through the power of habit

For sure there are a lot of things in life you found difficult to learn, such as parallel parking. At the beginning it takes a lot of effort and concentration, but after a while you can perform it almost instinctively. This is the power of habit. All habit-forming activities involve the same neurological and behavioral patterns. Once you understand the mechanism of habit formation, you can use it to create new habits and to get rid of the old, non-productive habits you might have. At this point we can say that the power of habit equals the power of your will.


Things that help you with habit formation

1. Reminders

2. Routines

3. Rewards

The 3 R's of habit formation

In order to change or create new habits you must follow the 3 step pattern that will always bring the results that you desire. Your habits make you who you are. If you are not satisfied with something in your life, it could be possible to improve it through habit-forming. So practice the correct habits and you will be more satisfied with yourself and your life.


In order to create a lasting ‘habit loop', one must constantly remind oneself of the behavior they seek to modify. This could come in many ways, such as a mental reminder or an outside cue to be matched with a sound or vision. This reminder is what prompts the behavior you want changed. For example, you use a spray bottle on your cat and spray water every time she misbehaves. This reminder of the spray bottle lets your cat know what behavior you want her to change. Another example is having an alarm to wake you up 5 minutes earlier than usual in order to start making tea with your breakfast. Reminders is the first step. Eventually, through reminders you can form lasting habits.


Routines are the actual behavior that reminders will attempt to modify. Your daily routine consists of a collection of habits that you have formed throughout your life up until this point of time. You have the power to change old habits and form new habits by switching up your routine. In fact, it is completely healthy to occasionally change up your routine just to give your mind and body a kick-start in the right direction. The power of forming good habits can effectively turn your life from something unsatisfactory to livable. Anything is possible if you set your mind to it. An example of a routine after a reminder is saying a certain greeting after hearing your name. You instinctively react to your name being called with a pre-determined phrase. This phrase is your routine. In order to change your routine phrase, you must practice making the change through constant reminders. So for practice you have your friend saying your name and instead of saying "What?" you change it to something more polite like "Yes? How may I help you?" Simple changes in routines can be made with proper and frequent reminders. Eventually, the new habit will be formed.


Rewards reinforce behavior. The reward is the benefit or consequence resulting from your learned routines. For example, you recently started skipping breakfast, and as a result you lost 5 pounds in the last month. Your diet routine was changed, and your reward from your willpower was becoming slimmer. The reward reinforces your behavior as favorable, and so you continue skipping breakfast. This is a routine and habit that is changed as a result of feeling good about yourself and continuing the habit. The result isn't always rewarding; sometimes it can be a punishment. Any result that gets you to form new habits is always desired as long as your new habit is a good one.

Set you alarm. Do the things you always do. High five. Who's ready for some quotes?

Best Quotes from The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Here are some quotes from The Power of Habit that you may like that you'll get even if you haven't read the book yet.

"Change might not be fast and it isn't always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped."

The key word here is reshape.
Change isn't easy though given the right amount of time you can turn even the worst habit into something that doesn't require compensation. Don't rush. If you are putting in the effort it will come with time.

"This is the real power of habit: the insight that your habits are what you choose them to be."

The word to watch out here is choice.
After to realize that every habit you form is a choice, the problem of forming habits that help you succeed is carrying out the choices you make.

"If you believe you can change - if you make it a habit - the change becomes real."

Remember to believe in yourself. If you don't, who will?

If you are not finished at quotes from The Power of Habit, here is our unconventional take. Here's how to reshape your habits.

The Power of Habit - How Something so Small Can Have Such a Huge Impact on Your Everyday Life and on the Way You Feel

So, what does the power of habits mean and what could you do about it? Is there any way you could influence it to your own benefit?

How are habits formed?

young woman with hand on jaw thinking
Habit loops

According to scientific information, all habits start with a "habit loop". This is a three-step process. Firstly, there is a trigger that makes the brain unfold a given behavior. Secondly, there is the behavior itself. Thirdly, there is a kind of reward, which makes the brain remember the habit and perform it the second time. When it comes to the power of habits, neuroscientists believe that the habits are developed in a part of the brain that is also responsible for emotions, pattern recognition, and memories. Decisions are made in a different part of the brain. However, as soon as you develop a habit, the brain's decision-making part goes into sleep mode, so to speak.

This is good news in case you want to develop good habits. Since you can function without much brain activity, you have the possibility to dedicate all your brain power to a new activity. This is why you can multitask. For instance, you can have a conversation with someone while performing parallel parking.

Macro-goals and micro-quotas

energetic woman
Dream big, do big

According to the research done regarding good habits to form show that, after all, it is good to dream big. In case you would like to create a habit that sticks, you will have to look for intrinsic motivators, which means an internal system of reward and punishment. According to the theory of macro-goals and micro-quotas, you have to remember your big picture, the life goal you have, but you have to set quotas of work that you have to perform on a daily basis. By performing your daily quotas, your life dreams will become achievable.

Creating behavior chains

grocery girl
If-then planning

Good work habits are easier to create if you start with the habits you already have instead of fighting them and creating entirely new ones. You should be thinking about if-then planning. This uses environmental triggers to act on your habit. This means that you should pick a natural part of your schedule and build another chain around it. For instance, when it comes to changing bad habits, instead of saying that you will clean your house more often you should say that after you go home and change your clothes, you will clean your room. This means that you will rely on contextual triggers instead of your willpower. In case you would like to build good health habits, you could think of something like "If it is lunchtime, then I will only eat fruits and vegetables" instead of saying that you will eat healthier.

Excessive options

women looking up at clothes in closet
Eliminate low priority choices

Research shows that if people have too many options, they use too much brain power to make mundane decisions and they will be too tired to make other, more important decisions. This means that if you would like to have more discipline in your life, you should find the mundane decisions you are making and simplify them. To form a good habit, you will have to change your schedule and your environment. For instance, if you wish to stop snacking, you should stop buying snacks so you won't have to make any decisions regarding eating snacks. Embrace the power of routine. As much as people hate routines, they are really helpful in creating good habits.

Make a plan

woman writing on wall
Visualize yourself doing things

The truth about creating good habits is that people often think about a given good habit, but they seldom ask themselves the question why they want to develop the habit in question. You might think that this is not important, but it has a huge role to play in your motivation. If you fantasize much about the results, you will find it more difficult to stick to the habit. Studies show that the people who visualize themselves performing the task at hand are more likely to stick to it than the people who visualize the result. This means that if you want to learn a new language, you should visualize yourself practicing on a daily basis instead of imagining yourself speaking the given language on your next vacation.

No more giving up

woman in middle of road tying shoes
Stick to it

In case you are serious about developing good habits, you should know that the new habits are quite fragile. This means that it doesn't take much for you to give up on them. When times get hard people tend to abandon their habit, saying that it's not worth their while. In order to avoid situations of this kind, you should find the aspect that made things go south. For instance, you might find it difficult in the morning to go to the gym. Why is that? Some people say that it is because they keep their gym equipment in another room and they have to walk in the morning to that room, in the cold. So they preferred to stay in their warm bed. One solution is to place your equipment near your bed the previous night.

There are a lot of things that could make you give up on a habit you are trying to form, but you have to understand exactly what is that made you give up. Once you eliminate that factor, you will be able to form any new habits you would like to have. You can use the reverse of this theory to get rid of unwanted habits.

What's your power of habit?

By Abie Giles

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