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The Power of Habit


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New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg explains why habits exist and how they can be changed.

Published in: Business
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The Power of Habit

  1. 1. THE POWER OF HABIT By Charles Duhigg WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO IN LIFE AND BUSINESS Jen Runkle, PhD Runkle Consulting www.runkle-
  2. 2. 40 TO 45% And that’s a OF THE DECISIONS WE good thing, becaus e other wise MAKE EACH DAY ARE we wouldn’t be able to get anything ACTUALLY HABITS, done in a day.NOT REALLY DECISIONS. Jen Runkle, PhD Runkle Consulting www.runkle-
  3. 3. THE HABIT LOOPAn easy (until you try and change it)three part process:1. Theres a cue, which is kind of a trigger for an automatic behavior to I’m hungry start unfolding.1. Then theres a routine, which is the Open fridge door behavior itself.2. And then theres a reward, which tells our brain whether we should Yummy leftovers store this habit for future use or not . Jen Runkle, PhD Runkle Consulting www.runkle-
  4. 4. If you want to change a habit, 1 . Find a dif ferentREMEMBER: routine. 2. Find aCUE  ROUTINE  REWARD friend/grou p who is working on the same habit. Jen Runkle, PhD Runkle Consulting www.runkle-
  5. 5. DURING AN NPR INTERVIEW, A TOOTHPASTE STORY:About 100 years ago no one in America brushed his or her teeth.Claude C. Hopkins, an advertising exec, changed that. "Claude C.Hopkins had made his name creating habits around products andmaking them famous," Duhigg says. " He had these two simplerules: make a product into a daily habit — find some simple cue,something thats going to trigger the consumer — and second ofall, you have to give them the reward. ... He intuited [the habitloop] years before laboratories had proven that it exists."The cue Hopkins used to sell his toothpaste was the filmy plaquethat forms naturally on teeth. "For years, people had felt a film ontheir teeth and had never worried about it, and you dont needtoothpaste to get rid of it," Duhigg says. But the poster read: " Getrid of that film. Pepsodent gives you a beautiful smile .” People gotinto the habit.The final step - a reward was needed: In this case, it was thetingling, clean feeling you get after brushing your teeth. Jen Runkle, PhD Runkle Consulting www.runkle-
  6. 6. DURING AN NPR INTERVIEW, THE AUTHOR GIVES A CORPORATE EXAMPLEIn the book we tell the story of Paul ONeill, the CEO ofAlcoa, the largest aluminum company in America and in theworld.When he first got hired, everyone expected him to come in andsay, Im going to concentrate on profits and ef ficiency andmaking people work harder. But instead what he said was, MyNo. 1 priority is transforming worker safety habits within thiscompany, so that we have zero injuries — which is a big deal ina company where all of your employees handle molten metals.“Thats all Im going to focus on is just transforming our workersafety habits” because he knew that if he could do that, itwould set of f a chain reaction that would change the culturethroughout the company. Jen Runkle, PhD Runkle Consulting www.runkle-