The Power of Habit Key Takeaways, ideas and Summary

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change

The Power of habit by Charles Duhigg is NEW YORK TIMES bestseller and is perfect for you if-

  1. If you think you waste most of your time because of lack of self-discipline.
  2. You really want to work upon yourself, increase your willpower, change your bad habits and cultivate good habits.

The book comes up with plenty of examples and research work on people like you and me, or even worse than that, who transformed their lives completely with just one concept – the habit and its role in our lives. In short, this book scientifically proves that it is possible to change our habits no matter how old are we, no matter how deeply rooted our habits are.

Before we proceed further with the summary, know that there is no better way to understand the key concepts of this book than reading the book itself.

If you want to buy paperback/audiobook/kindle edition of this book in 12% discounted rate, please click here or the image above.

Let’s start with the summary-

  1. How does a habit-loop work?:

Almost every action we perform daily directly result from our habits. Let’s discuss the following 3 terms. This is known as a habit loop.

  1. Cue– This is any clue that triggers our action. Your ringing waking up alarm is a cue.
  2. Routine– This is the series of steps you perform after getting triggered. This comes with no thinking because you are habitual. In our example, after the ringing alarm you can either snooze it or wake up.
  3. Reward- This is the sensation your brain receives after completing the routine. We all crave for reward. In our example, it depends whether hitting a snooze button of your alarm or waking up is your reward.

It is crucial to understand what really triggers us and the routine we perform after that is right for us or not, otherwise we become just a wanderer with no sense of understanding, running behind short-term pleasures. Pay close attention to what you do every day. Is it worth of time? Or are you guilty for it? What everyone else does may or may not be right for you to do.

2. How to change bad habits and cultivate good ones?

First, we need to understand that no habit can permanently be erased from your brain. Only way is to replace it with a better one. You may try changing the cue, but as soon as you catch that cue somewhere else, your old habit will re-emerge.

So, here is the Golden Rule of Habit Change:

Keep the cue and reward same, just change the routine you follow after getting triggered.

For eg, if you are getting bored then instead of using social media, read books or dance or do anything that you like.

This is all theory. Let’s talk about something practical. The fundamental questions are:

  1. How do I successfully insert a new routine?
  2. What if my new routine is not as pleasing as my earlier one?

2.1 How do I successfully insert a new routine?

This book absolutely doesn’t recommend you to work damn hard, suffer extreme pain, and torture yourself. (You can, if this works for you!: p) But mostly this won’t result in anything except demotivation. Instead, start small.

  1. Be clear with your “why”. Most people are not clear with their “why.” That’s one of the essential reasons they can’t change anything. If you want to reduce the excess use of social media, then why? There must be a concrete reason behind it.
  2. Go for one change at a time. If you want to exercise and stop using social media too, choose either of the two at a time.The remaining one can be cultivated after inculcating the first one.
  3. It’s essential to have your mind think of the reward even before you start with the routine. Let your brain be habitual to imagine the joy, the happiness, the pleasure you will experience after finishing the routine. When this craving becomes your habit, no one can stop you to be habitual with your new routine.      

2.2 What if my new routine is not as pleasing as my earlier one?

When you try changing something, sure enough, you will not receive the same reward you used to with your old routine. But honestly, if you are regular with your new routine, even for 3-4 days, keeping in mind, the 3 points mentioned in 2.1, your definition of pleasure will change.

You will stop running behind short-term pleasures. Your productivity will shoot as you become habitual to your new routine. Short-term pleasures will only make you guilty in a long run. The new routine will not only be exhilarating but also will cultivate a sense of responsibility in you.


But sometimes, in extreme stressful situations of life, the previous bad pattern of habit can reemerge. As per many research studies, here, strongly believing in some power greater than you or even believing in yourself can help you out. It won’t change your new habit loop.

3. Habits of successful organizations and keystone habits.

Keystone habits are the most basic and crucial habits. When you develop keystone habits; you change unrelated patterns in your lives, often unknowingly, and become more productive. Keystone habits trigger wide spread change by starting chain reactions, making easier for you to cultivate new habits. It makes you believe that bigger achievements are possible. Examples of some keystone habits are exercising, meditating, reading books, etc.

Cultures inside an organization grow out of keystone habits. Organizations like Starbucks train employees to be self-disciplined. After achieving self-discipline, it is easy to work toward a common goal which ultimately becomes the culture of an organization.

4. Willpower and what is its role?

Willpower is a learnable skill. Once willpower increases for any one aspect of your life (e.g. exercise), it spills over to every other aspect (e.g. productivity). You can craft self-discipline into a habit. This is the power of willpower.

5. What is the greatest thing, you can achieve through cultivating good habits?

People with great self-control aren’t working hard(initially they did). They just made it so automatic that it is the part of their lifestyle. Their willpower occurs without them having to think about it. This is the biggest achievement of knowing the power of habits. You no more have to struggle to be productive!! Just imagine how your life would change!

6. What do I feel?

This book is one of the most logical and research based self-improvement books that I have ever read. Motivation is temporary and your inner inspiration is permanent. This book helps to inspire you. I strongly recommend you to read this book and get to know how everything in highly successful environment works. If self-improvement is one of your goals, then this is a must-read book.

If you want to buy paperback/audiobook/kindle edition of this book in 12% discounted rate, please click here or the image above.

This was all about it. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. As always, any suggestions, improvements are highly appreciated. For more such content, follow my blog!

See you soon!

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32 thoughts on “The Power of Habit Key Takeaways, ideas and Summary

      1. Aarohi, at this young age you have shown great maturity, certainly your summary of “The Power of Habits” will bring a few changes in my habits and I will try to I still good habits in me and also I will spread this to my friends and relatives. Age is no bar but certainly better to start at young age to shape a bright and happy life ahead. I congratulate Aarohi for her lovely summary. Keep me updated about your future plans.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Very good awani. Few more examples of some great people who adopted this and proved to be ideal personalities, should have incorporated.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Very motivational summary. But as you said in summary that *Motivation is temporary and your inner inspiration is permanent*. Everyone who want to improve self discipline must have to read this book. Thanks to trigger. Definitely I will read this book.

    Liked by 1 person

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