Keystone Habits

Habit Video


In his video, Duhigg claims that habits pervade our personal life, and moreover, have an integral role in the organizations and businesses that we are involved in, and the social movements and societies as well. This article highlights important opinions raised by Duhigg on habits.

First, Duhigg explains that more than 40 percent of the actions we perform daily are not actually decisions, rather they are our habits. These habits develop from decisions we made some time ago (Duhigg 1). For instance, at one point we consciously decided the amount of food we want to eat and what we need to focus on immediately when we get into the office. We then stopped making these decisions and the behavior developed.

Duhigg considers habit as an effort saving instinct which is advantageous to the brain. This is because when one is doing a habit, basically, the brain stops to think constantly about the basic behaviors and, therefore, this energy can be devoted to other important mental activities

According to Duhigg, there are three basic components of a habit: cue, routine and reward. Essentially, the cue is a trigger that informs the brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Secondly, the routine is either physical, emotional or mental repetitive way of doing things (Duhigg 1). Finally, the reward is the element that helps the brain to figure out whether the loop formed by the three components is worth remembering for the future.

In addition, Duhigg believes that habits cannot be erased, however, they can be replaced. Consequently, the Golden rule for changing a habit is keeping cue and reward but focus on changing the routine.

Starbucks is encouraging its employees to have written plans for their behavior ahead of time. The plans basically state how the employees will deal with stresses and drawbacks. Duhigg notes that writing down the plans has helped the Starbucks baristas to not only remain calm, but also professional when a customer becomes angry.

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More importantly, keystone habits are most linked to becoming successful. Specifically, keystone habits are referred to as the habits that when they begin to shift, they dislodge and then remake other patterns (Duhigg 1). The keystone habits may vary with different fields. For instance, a keystone habit of a particular interest to the financial planners and counselors could be beginning to exercise since this normally makes them reduce their credit use. Additionally, Duhigg notes that making bed every morning can be associated with significant ability to stick to a budget. Another example is that of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps who earned a record number of 19 Olympic medals through focusing on a keystone habit of mentally visualizing the perfect race. Essentially, while the moment for race comes, Phelps would be already halfway through his routine, that is, from breakfast, to listening music and then warming up, and completing each of the steps indicated a little victory and so the actual race was also another step to complete.

An automatic willpower is a sign of habit of a success. Therefore, Duhigg, suggests that people should also improve their willpower in order to gain the habit of success. Improving the willpower happens mainly through two ways. First, one should consider willpower as a muscle that can become exhausted, and also, it can be strengthened. For instance, keeping a written expense log can increase ones focus together with self-control in other areas of life like exercise and diet (Duhigg 1). That is, this will improve their willpower to check their use of money. Secondly, Duhigg also suggests that in order to improve willpower, it should also become a habit to choose the behavior ahead of time. For instance, writing down a plan on how to deal with anticipated drawbacks or stresses may help in dealing with elderly hip replacement surgery patients to exercise more despite the pain. Similarly written plans also help the Starbucks baristas to remain calm when the customer becomes angry.

The institutional habits and routines are unavoidable in organizations. Inherently, the institutional habits play a crucial role within the leadership of a group owing to the fact that they make deliberate efforts to shape the habits of an organization, as well as in ensuring a high degree of equality and fairness within the members of that organization (Duhigg 1). The institutional habits also make it clear who is in charge of each of the aspects of the organization. Similarly, the institutional habits also include the keystone habits which actually form the center of the individuals of that organization personal lives. Keystone habits are pivotal in large organizations since they foster success of these firms. It is also worth noting that the institutional habits target not only instilling habits into the employees of a company but also to the customers and sometimes, partners and other stakeholders.

Evidently, habits play a significant role in the success of a company. Through learning the habits of the organizations/ firms customers, the marketers are able to develop advertisements that directly target the customers. For instance, a firm may be in a position to send an ad that is appropriate to varying customers depending on what they need. Moreover, habits also help in strengthening the values of an organization through setting out the way the employees relate and respond to each other and to the customers as well. Embracing keystone habits also enables the firms to be successful. Inherently, the video is explicit and handles different aspects of habits: the power of habits in personal lives, business and organizations, and in social movements. More importantly, Duhigg also uses relevant case examples to illustrate his points, which makes the video be not only credible but also easy to follow and understand.

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