Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Habits

I'm still trying to fight this cold and have not been overly productive. For instance, on Sunday I pretty much sat around and read which explains why I was able to finish The Power of Habit: why we do what we do in life and in business by Charles Duhigg. It is a fascinating book all about how habits influence our lives and how they can be changed (or not). What I find the most interesting is how one seemingly small habit can affect the rest of our lives in a huge way. And of course, I love reading a paragraph such as this:

"Studies have documented that families who habitually eat dinner together seem to raise children with better homework skills, higher grades greater emotional control, and more confidence. Making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget. It's not that a family meal or a tidy bed causes better grades or less frivolous spending. But somehow those initial shifts start chain reactions that help other good habits take hold." (p.109)

It has made me much more aware of things I do out of habit and am not really thinking about. It also explains why I sometimes try to take out my contacts at night even though they are already out. (It's a far better explanation than creeping senility.) I've also been doing some thinking about what habits I may have inadvertently created in my children. I don't have any great revelations on that front yet, but it is interesting to think about.

My one quibble with the book is that the author is very clearly not a believer in anything spiritual, yet does write about faith issues more than once. The trouble is, he (and the researchers he writes about) are forced by their own belief systems to explain spiritual matters in non-spiritual terms. Since B. is currently reading it, you can bet that we will have some discussions about those sections.

It is also a little frustrating to read it while sick. It does motivate you to start working on all these wonderful habits which will transform your life, habits which are difficult to begin when you haven't had your contacts in for two days and sitting is about the sum total of what you're capable of.

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