I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all

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I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, sewer, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all, blogging, Costumed Beagle enthusiast. I am not always pleasant, although through intensive cupcake therapy I have learned not to throw knives at people anymore.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Book Review: The Power of Habit

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

I know...this doesn't sound like a vacation read, but I had heard part of an interview with the author and i thought it was interesting.  Interesting because, I, like everyone else I know, has habits we would rather not have.  In the interview he was saying that the best time to try to change your habits is on vacation, because you are not in your normal routine and do not have the same triggers that signals a particular habit.  And this sounded like a good idea to me, because I am forever quitting caffeine only to come back to it after a couple of weeks with a vengeance.  And also I was going on vacation.

He begins by talking about the cyclical nature of habits and how they begin with a cue. We respond with our habit, which gives us a reward.  If we can identify what triggers our desire for something, we can work with it.  For instance, today I was really really busy.  I had to go down to BYU to fight over a job contract as well as drop a coat off for a production in Pleasant Grove and stop by Joann's  for pleather and trim and teach my three classes that I haven't been to in a week and a half and get tickets to a show and, and, and...you get the idea.  Well I got waylaid on my way to my car by a colleague who was unhappy with some of my students and wanted to discuss it at length.  By the time I got to my car I really wanted a coke.  Stress is one of my triggers.  Well the chances are I won't be able to eliminate stress from my life, but I did recognize that I wanted a coke because I was stressed.  I also want one when I am bored, when I am in a meeting, when I am driving and at 11:00 and 3:00.  So for me, pretty much anything at any given time is a trigger....boo.   BUT, I recognized it, and can direct my attention elsewhere.

Mr. Duhigg goes into great detail about this in personal lives, the science behind our brains and cravings, cultural habits (habits that develop in a specific place like work), and habits created in businesses.  There is a fascinating bit on Target and how they gather info on their customers and how they can predict how likely you are to be pregnant-before you even know yourself.

He does not really offer any science behind how to change the habits, but does have a few suggestions, which so far, for me is working.

I wonder how long it will take before I quit craving a coke? (Actually he talks about this too...apparently our habits NEVER go away, they just get filed away into a different part of the brain until we need them again...which is why you can still ride a bike even though you haven't been on one for years).

Anyway, an interesting read.  He has an easy manner and does a good job breaking down complicated science into layman's terms.

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