The Power of Habit

Literally for ages I have walked by this book in the bookstore, have been attracted to the bright cover and then thought nope – I am not gonna like it, put it back. For years I have been interested in how I might need to change habits because Lordy knows I am in a habit breaking cycle the last few years. But I still resisted. But then last pay day after I crushed out all my bills, I found myself in the book store looking in the small business self help section (because lately I have been a non-fiction whore) and I finally thought you know what, I am doing it. I grabbed and finally had enough balls to buy it.

Here is the thing – I am currently reading two other books

But once I picked this one up, I could not put it down.

Charles Duhigg is a phenomenal writer. His ability to capture a story and make a point is so eloquent and inspiring. But through out the book – as I weaved through the chapters I realized he was following a formula and I am not sure if I got sucked into the habit and reward of the formula or what happen – but whatever Charles was doing – it worked.
The truth is – I have lots of habits that I have worked on breaking over the years. Lots of habits I returned to. Lots of pressure I put on myself to accomplish things that I think I want and then get overwhelmed when I don’t see results. Maybe it is because of cell phone instant gratification maybe it is because I am lazy – maybe it just something that I need to dig deeper into and figure out, so I don’t go on repeating the same fucking mistakes. I’ll have to get back to you.

Today I had so many plans of things I think I wanted to do but it is cold as fuck outside. So instead of messaging people my boredom texts I took it upon myself to finish reading my pile of books. You know what feels super great, finishing a book. You know what feels even more great feeling like I am using my brain. Thinking about things, assessing things, introverted me is such a thinker – idea generator – and sometimes it just feels good to flex that muscle.

The Power of Habit is the book that I didn’t know I needed to read. But I couldn’t put down. Talking about how everything humans do is habitual and in order to break the habit we need to form new habits. Now I know that that isn’t new information. But sometimes old information presented in a new way makes information stick in a way that it didn’t stick before.

I mean I inherently know that in order to find financial success I need to break spending habits. In order to find weight loss success, I need to form new eating and non-eating habits. In order to stop myself from being lazy and requiring so much down time is to effectively understand my sleep cycles and find new at home routines. But the actuality of doing that is harder than it is so easily presented.

I have realized I have bad habits. I have also realized I need change. When this happens I try and do all the big projects all at once. I try and change everything because I get so fucking excited about new beginnings – then I get tired and stop doing all of it – I let myself down and spiral. And then around we go again.  I know that tackling to many projects and making to many changes at once is a recipe for failure in all areas. So really this book confirmed what I have been telling myself for months. Actually I have been giving myself a hard time about this stuff for years and what needs to happen is I need to pick one main focus or habit to break. Currently the forerunner is finances. Spending habits – what I need to continue to work on is my path to financial freedom and stop putting so much pressure on myself to also see success at weight loss and figure out some sort of crazy online business/social media take over to generate something that I literally just don’t have the energy to focus on. The Power of Habit is really taking a look at what our habits already are and showing us that we can indeed form new habit.

Since I have admitted that I am hyper focused on my finances right now it is best for me to really look into my spending habits. What kind of reward am I gaining from spending? What kind of reward might I gain by saving?

I like to think I am pretty self aware but maybe I am just living in the looney bin of blissfully unaware. And perhaps that is where a lot of people live – I have no idea. But what I can do is focus on me, and what I am trying to do and that my actions have consequences both good and back and learning to understand that my decisions are the reason I am where I am in life.

Some of you may know that I have a script tattoo on my arm that reads: “No One is Coming to Save You” – some people read that and look at me like I am either in the depths of depression in a way they can’t understand or that I am totally fucked (I mean those things maybe true) but ultimately that tattoo got permanently etched into my arm to remind me all the time that all the work needs to come from with in. No one person or one thing is going to pull you out of the mess you got yourself in. No other human is the answer to anything we are fighting. Inner turmoil is solved by you. Weight loss again solved by you. Money problems also solved by you. The only thing that can change me or my habits is a cold hard look at how I got myself into this situation and how I need to gruelingly pull myself out.

The thing is maybe you don’t have any bad habits or habits that you would like to change. And I commend you if you’re that person. But if you are like me there are lots of things, I need to continual work on to watch myself grow. So really in theory if you follow these 4 steps you should eventually get to where you want to go:

Identify the routine
Experiment with rewards
Insolate the cue
Have a plan

Sounds simple, right?! The Power of Habit isn’t a step by step problem solver it really is just the tool you need to know that you can change. Sometimes we just need someone to tell us that in words we didn’t hear before.

If you need me, I will be working on breaking some habit cycles, working on crushing out those student loans – probably drinking free coffee at ‘40 000, reading something else to pass the time.

Happy Habit Changing,