Sometimes as a recovering procrastinator, I benefit greatly from someone else’s insights. That’s the case with a book I recently read, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.
Please read the review at Christianbooknotes.com/2013/the-power-of-habit-by-charles-duhigg. Though this book is not about Christianity, it provides us with aids we can use to put off the old man and put on the new.
The first part of the book and the afterward address personal habits. The remainder of the book is about commercial and societal habits. Let’s focus on the personal.
Duhigg explains that every habit is triggered by a cue. Something kicks us into gear… Then we follow a certain routine in order to gain a particular reward. All of this is driven by an inner craving.
At charlesduhigg.com/the-power-of-habit/ is a brief video about Duhigg’s chocolate chip cookie habit and what he did to change it. (Yeah, he wanted to!) Notice the cue, experiment with the routine, figure out the reward that’s enjoyed. To change the habit, change the routine.
Each afternoon Duhigg became restless. He’d leave his desk, buy a cookie, and eat it while chatting with colleagues. To figure things out, he varied his routine and noted his responses. Sometimes he’d buy an apple, go for a walk, or chat with a colleague. He discovered what he really wanted was social interaction. He changed his cookie-buying routine and still got the reward he truly wanted.
It’s interesting to have insight as to how or why I form a particular habit. However, it’s only helpful if I use the insight to form a better habit. That’s what I’m trying to do now because I want my habits to be in cooperation with the Lord’s will and design for me.
Habit-wise, do I co-labor with the Lord or resist Him?
I want to change my habit of going to bed late. For me that’s resisting the Spirit’s prompting, not yielding my members as instruments of righteousness. I pay a high price in the form of fatigue and foggy thinking – but I keep doing it. What’s up?
What is a habit you’d like to change? What cue, routine, and reward do you see?
I would love to change my going to bed late habit also. I think I crave the lack of distraction and the clearness of thought I have after all the kiddos are in bed. Once I am up past 11:30 I get that second wind and almost can’t sleep. I have tried getting up early in the morning to achieve the same desired reward but often my husband is already at work and I am fearful I will wake the children when I am trying to get things done.
Beth Sterne says
That is tough, Becky. Moms need a time when they can focus. I know many who work late at night for the reasons you do. You don’t mention whether or not you handle early get ups well (provided you’ve slept). Is this daily or occasional? Maybe you could experiment and see what happens with the children. Maybe they could learn a new way. Some have been able to teach their children not to leave their rooms until a certain time. Ages? What about you other moms out there? What do you suggest?