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Recommended Reading: The Power of Habit

Over years of working with clients and looking at my own life, I've come to see that habits are at the core of why we do what we do.  From the food choices we make, to the amount of movement we get in our lives, and even the thoughts that we have, all of it comes down to habits that serve us or habits that sabotage us. Reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg was incredibly helpful in allowing me to recognize the often invisible patterns that can keep me (us!) stuck in a place of dysfunction.  

In his book, Duhigg lays out the three components of a habit: the cue, which prompts your brain to run a particular habit program; the routine, which is the physical, mental or emotional pattern that the cue triggers; and the reward, the thing that happens as a result of the routine that makes you want to do it again. By paying attention to your daily activities, you can begin to identify the cues, routines and rewards that shape the habits you play out in your own life. Armed with this information and tuning into your inner awareness, you can consciously choose to transform the routine that the cue triggers, shifting an unhealthy pattern into one that supports your highest good. You can also use what you learn about these three components of a habit to create powerful new habits that contribute to your well-being.  

For example, I've shared my own plan for healthy hydration here on the blog. I've made this a habit, with the cue of being in my kitchen in the morning, the routine of preparing my day's drinks all at once, and the reward of feeling a greater sense of well-being, with fewer headaches, improved bowel regularity, and increased mental altertness as a result of being well-hydrated. I've also made it a habit to have my own acupuncture treatments at a particular day and time each month, by scheduling those sessions regularly with my own acupuncturist. Now when I'm scheduling appointments for the coming quarter (the cue), I make sure my acupuncture appointment is booked for the first Thursday of every month (the routine). I anticipate the upcoming treatment and make sure to get to my appointment on that day.  Afterwards, I feel the improvement in my physical and mental functioning (the reward), and look forward to going back again the following month.  I used to do this with my weekly acupuncture treatments when I was recovering from multiple health challenges.  If you'd like to create your own monthly or weekly self-care routine with me, call 541.326.8952 and we can schedule appointments out as far into the future as you'd like, to allow the habit to take root.

If you feel inspired to read this book so you can use even more of its wisdom in your daily life, click on the image above or the LINK HERE to get your own copy. If you're like me and find it easier to incorporate audiobooks into your life (I have cultivated a habit of listening to an audiobook every time I commute!), use THIS LINK to get the audiobook version. I'd love to hear in the comments below what habits you would like to create for yourself, or what habits you'd like to transform. 


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Reader Comments (1)

Oh, man, what a powerful reminder that so many of the actions I take "of my own free will" are actually shaped by unconscious patterns rather than thoughtful decision-making. So important to examine this in our lives. Thank you.

June 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAlison

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