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Charles Duhigg: The Power of Habit [Best of]

2017-12-25 | 🔗

Ever wonder how to kill a bad habit or start a good one? How to stop eating ice cream at 11 pm or smoking or procrastinating? How to exercise every day, without fail?

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author of The Power of Habit, (https://amzn.to/3jhgYHS) Charles Duhigg, did too. But he went beyond wondering and spent a few years researching the science behind habits. What he discovered was pretty mind-blowing.

Not only is there a huge amount of mythology and misinformation around these hidden routines, but the people who understand the real psychology of habit formation are using it not just to change their own behavior, but to "influence" the buying decisions of hundreds of millions of consumers. Including you.

In this episode of Good Life Project, Duhigg reveals how one of the biggest retailers in the world, Target, uses habit analysis to figure out which customers are pregnant and leverages that information to cultivate new buying habits. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

He shares how to tap the neuroscience of habit to create your own positive behaviors (hint: chocolate after exercise may not be such a bad thing). He reveals why old habits never really die and what to do about it.

Duhigg takes us behind the scenes of major corporations and shows how to use the science of habit to transform a failing business into a success story in ways you'd never suspect. And he shares how these ideas can be tapped to create larger shifts in cultures and societies for good or, if misused, not-so-good.

[We first aired this conversation in July 2012. I'm so excited to share this "Best Of" episode with you now as we head into the year to come to think about the habits we want to create].


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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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so this tends to be the time of year that we look at a little thing called habits during the holiday season. We tend to beat our selves up for the habits that we dont liver cells and, as we turn the page on the new year, very often we tend to look at the habits that we'd love to leave behind. We love to break and the habits we'd love to making how those my actually work and come alive in our lives and a while back. We sat down with Charles do he who is a Pulitzer prize? as winning reporter and the author of a book, a massive book that was all over the place called the power of habit. with how the science of habit formation in our lives, companies and societies really happens. The truth behind how to actually make change happen. It was massively eye opening to me, and I thought that, as we move through this time of year and start to look ahead at the habits we'd love to create in the year to come, it would be a good idea.
To revisit that conversation with Charles and to share it with you, you will hear the quality of the recording is a little bit different than our current recordings. Happen happened in our studio. This was actually taped back when Charles was on staff you as a journalist at the near times. It was taped office offices. So you'll background noise. Just to give you a heads up, that's what's happening there, still a really powerful exercise that has left me we thinking about how we have in the world and how I want to create newbies. every that are positive, constructive. in my life on the conversation on Jonathan fields, and this is good life project. Good life project is sponsored by health,
Q, how that Q is an insurance company that uses science and data to secure lower rates on life, insurance for health, conscious people like runners and cyclers strength, trainers, begins and more. It's like saving money on your car insurance for being a good driver. Health, a q saves you money on your life insurance for living, a health, conscious lifestyle. So to see if you qualify, get your free quote today at health I q, dot, com, slash good life, and you can also mention the promo code, good life. When you talk to a health IKEA agent, that health, I q, dot com, flash good life. I have just two fields, and my guess. Today's Charles DO investigator reporter for the New York Times and author of a really fabulously book the power of habit, get into this and explore a whole bunch of things around this idea of habit. What it is, what it isn't maybe made it possible Mythology around that, so Charles weapons were to be faced,
as for me. I really appreciate it, so this book is exploding. I got an early copy, were very kind to send it over to me, and I devoured the whole thing really quick lol. I'm glad to hear that fascinated by the storytelling and the neuroscience and and what we do with with this show, as we were I bet this a little bit sort of. We have two different types of guests: people that these interesting stories out in the world. Then we may circle back to you on that for a different piece and then people, s or peace. In the mindset puzzles, that's what I really want to explore with you today, absolute so at an let's start out, with that you had a an article in the Sunday Times was right here, exploded yeah. It was like the most emailed story of the guy got a little bit of attention, which is nice, a piece about our target and how they're, using they're, studying shoppers habits to predict who's pregnant. So, you going to tell a little bit of that story. So this is. This is actually a chapter from the book and in a couple of years about it,
months ago, as is right in the book, is looking for a company that studying shopping habits, to understand how they do it, and someone told me get to look at target targets. Doing this really really well- and I found this guy in Rupaul, who runs what's known as their predictive analytics team, in target is among the smallest companies at examining shopping habits and then learning how to market to them or manipulate them today. yeah, were you surprised in one of the things they've done? Is they have built predictive models to figure out which shoppers are pregnant, sometimes even before that Shoppers father, for instance, might know they're pregnant? So what was the story around so said this one and in one instance, they had just started doing this like sending out these advertisements and at first they, I send out these coupon books that were just filled with baby stuff writers, mostly or the target knew you were pregnant So I was talking to one of the managers and he said that this father came in to the store the angry clutching one of these combined books- and he says
why are you sending this to my teenage daughter? Return, encourage her to become pregnant, and the guy says I know what you're talking about but looks at it's filled with baby stuff. It's like I'm so sorry cause the guy at home, couple days later, it is like look excellent apologise again and the guy as well. I actually have to apologize to you. I had a talk with my daughter and it turns out there's been some activity, I'm not aware of and she's due in August, supposed to target actually figured out before this guy that his daughter was pregnant, which is on the one hand, really cool, but, on the other hand, really freaky it. It has a tendency to spook people out right. But what's behind this I mean what's target like has twenty getting to this point in the last decade, we ve learned a huge amount about how have its work properly. From your logic perspective and in what we say I what scientists have laboratories is that every habit has three components: there's a queue which is like the trigger for the behavior. Your brain goes into automatic mode behave yourself and then,
Award, which is why your brain in codes, this Chun if behavior as an automatic automatic routine So everyone has to have those three pieces to become encoded. Every habit has to have those three parts and most of the time when we think about habits, we only think about the behavior right. We think about like eating the donuts or going for an exercise you're exercising going for a run mad, but this in this reward or kind of the keys to unlocking habits into shaping them in re, making them If you know this is an individual's enormously powerful, if you know this is company, like in target's case, you know how to encourage people to behave almost automatically and that's what they did. there. They ve got such a vast amount of data on at that collecting from a young how many data
it's that they can literally put together this predictive model that understands the cue and the reward, and they they build a routine that they want or are into that's exactly right, so what they do their goal is to they. They assign every person walks through their doors, regularly a guest identification number they want to do. Is they want to link all the demographic information? They can't do it. What you pop purchase previously, which compulsory use if you open, Ie Males By where do you live? are you married? Had you own your house or rent? How much money do you earn? What magazines do you get? What websites do you visit accelerate and they want to figure out? What for Jonathan, is the particular q going to get you to buy a nor, from what reward can I give you this going to get you to come at target when you need a new lawn, so the behavior always a purchase in their in their world and so there then,
its last science is the key in the reward that can it led to the deaths exactly right for them, what they want to drive is purchasing behaviour, but obviously that's not in designing your own habit right at this. Let's make this. Let me, let's can bring this down to the individual here, because we all have habitat what what I just needed me to read this in places. But you waited an interesting way that Canada is a well is how much of We do from the moment we open our eyes to the boat we go to. Bed at night is literally lottery on autopilot right and to me a little bit about what it has to be that way right because it's so there was a study that was done by Duke University a couple of years ago, where they follow college students around in their basic question, was how much of what they do is actual decision making and how much that decision making and it's just habit. I found a forty five set of daily activities are habit in a habit is something where you once made a decision and then his actual, you stopped thinking about it and continue doing it and, if you think about it, this is actually really important, because, if you
concentrate every single time you tied your shoes or back the car out of the driveway or got dressed in the morning. You never have I have to think about the meeting that's coming up and what you need for class today are making your kids lunch. So it's important to be able to form But we know from neurological studies that when a habit emerges, your brain Shelly powers down? That's why they ve! so powerful and that's why these mistakes can happen right where explain what you mean by power. Do so what does Britain in the basal ganglia it's a very structure inside the brain in the within the basal ganglia patterns form and they execute automatically and so behavior becomes a habit when it becomes ritualize. Your prefrontal cortex, part of your brain, where you're making decisions that hands over control. to the basal ganglia the basal. Ganglia doesn't really make decisions, it just follows taxis exactly exactly but there.
These two special times the that the prefrontal cortex is active. The first is during the started to happen, the cue because it basically looks for something to tell it which it should I apply right now and then at the end, the reward, because you're sort of shakes himself away to get. It says: ok just went through this routine. What did I get out of the rain? It's looking for like? Why should I? exactly should. I remember this: for the future That's why? If you, if you influence the Cuban the reward, if you gonna play with these you have such power is because that's the opportunity change, literally thinking about a pattern, loop feedback loop and created one pass through that loop, or is this a matter of repetition over time? So, most of the time it's a matter of repetition, but if you think about it, it sort of depends on the power of the reward right if you want to create a chocolate habit, you could prepare
The example you done you're half way through it. You, like I love this work. I remember this neck of you. I have to go long run every morning, you're exhausted that one's going to take a little bit longer. But but at the same time, it's actually the same neurological process right you're. Basically, you have to come up with some queue, for your brain recognize this chunk of behavior there has to be a reward at the end, and so actually this chocolate example is a good one, because we know from studies that, best way to start exercising, for instance, is it first give yourself a? the chocolate. As soon as you're done with your workout So we can learn to Iraq is most people. Working out is not coming to close to where they might, but which that's probably better with counterproductive. the trying to do is you're trying to trick your brain two associating this q in this routine. With a reward
from studies that, like after a week and a half- and I'm sure you know this from your own experience of working at once- Exercising you don't want that chocolate anymore right. the intrinsic reward, becomes after sustain the pattern, but you have to trick your brain at first by giving it an extrinsic floor. So so what I want to make it crystal clear so so let's talk about like running it. Okay, I want to start on like a daily running, haven't read the behavior. We know what it is is defined, it's it's running and and then what would a qb for that the queue would be so all queues fall into one of five categories. According to studies, it's either a time a certain place, the presence of other people, certain other people in the emotion or a certain proceeding action. So one of the ways that you could create a queue is, for instance, you want to you. You would want to go running at about the same time. Every day, and you'd want to go running at about the same time in your in your mourning process. Ed right
might want to put your running shoes as some type of visual cue, to help remind you right by your bed or by your door. You want a ritualized that right, but the specific q. If I look at you like ITALY with specific you, you might not even know yourself and just that, but the more it ritualized the beginning of that process. The more a cue will emerge in a neurology interesting, so you laid out these five things so with these use is the type of thing where one is enough, or would it be better I can associate like all five queues. At the same time, does that mean a more powerful sort of yeah, I know where I was actually so There's going to be one cue for your running habits, but but In a sense, your neurology is going to choose that you and the best thing you can do is to ritualized all five things: actually see this in beer commercials, for instance, If you want to learn a lot about habits, watch beer commercial, because in a commercial you'll notice that, like when the guy walks into the bar and has a beer he survived
did by this group of friends right because that's a cute, since surrender piecing gain time on a Sunday in time on a Sunday right of certain time of day, you'll notice that, when the bottle was handed to us, Why has like droplets on the outside? That's because most people, when they take a beer out of the fridge condenses. Then you see these droplets on the outside right, trying to take all these cues that naturally occur in your life. and to shoehorn this new behavior having a beer in the middle of the day with your friends in something you already do. So. I mean which makes perfect sense ass her, like you, do this and then this kind of set up and you're almost saying you brought we probably one of these keys right now we actually had to create the keys, but it's good. It probably started to knit on accusing our life already are and focus We don't necessarily new okay but let's identify the existing queues and link this movie
able to that, and then that's exactly what you're saying also is may be changed or make a lot more deliberate reward after this new behaviour that Zactly right and because in this actually get soon other concept in the book, which is the golden rule of Habitat, because you asked for creating habits most people say what they want to do is change their habits. So this is what we know from from Noora. Logical watch psychology laboratories, it's very hard to eradicate habit? Basically, once it's encoded in your neurology, it's there. Why? it's just because the neural pathways are there and they don't disconnect. They only weaken our strength, exactly exactly it's, because it's because of how essentially, we learn on a neurological level, certain her aunts get either larger or smaller as their exposed to Neuro transmitters, and so so they say simply cut out a certain kind of pathway to have it- that's, not really feasible, but what you can do is you can change that habit
If you diagnose the queue and if he diagnose the reward you can, you heard a new behaviour in Dhaka as long as it is triggered by the same to you and to deliver the overall, with linked in becoming number one in b, to be display advertising in the. U S, you ve got a great advantage. You can stand out against your competitors, while nurturing customer relationships and growing your brand linked in targeting tools allows you to reach your precise audience down to their job title company, name, location and more, which means your ads are being seen by those who matter scale your marketing and grow your business with linked in advertising as a thank you to their customers for helping them grow three times faster than the competition linked in is offering a hundred Well, there's credit on your next campaign: go to linkedin dot com, slash marketing, to claim your credit, that's linkedin, dot com, slash marketing
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Slash good life to claim your seventy five dollar credit before March thirty, first, indeed, dot com, less good life terms, and editions apply need to hire. You need indeed, so then, almost like. Were the old habit, The old neural pathway is still there, but we're a new pathway which is stronger, stronger or it lays over exactly that's exactly right and in the best example of this is actually Alex Anonymous Writer, which We all know if you've ve never been to a meeting. We all know how it works right. You you basically in it. and the thing about AIDS was invented by these guys who weren't scientists like they were literally like sitting in their rooms. There were alcoholics, saying like let's make this up the reason why there's twelve steps, the famous twelve steps is because there's twelve apostles in the Bible and one guy came up all twelve the sitting in bed, one night writing down waiting to go meet. Someone telling
But the reason why a works is that it's basically, this giant machine for changing habits. So the old habit was the key was I had it. I work come home. The routine is im going to go to a bar, see my friends have a drink, just relax with a with you know a beer and the reward is, I feel so much better or like, I was able to forget my worries for a second. I talked to my friends. Had this emotional catharsis? So what, as as as keep the same cue, keep the same reward if you have a crappy day at work instead, in bar go to a meeting and at that meeting were going to, I had the exact same experience, you're going to have an emotionally cathartic experience, you're going to talk to your friends you're, going to talk about all of your problems and at the end you're going to feel this sense of relief right? They just changed. The routine I guess that's why you like it's its eyes: commonalities like a sponsored element to it, if you don't, have the meeting available to you, but you want that routine and your you call this
like that's another routine, that swaps into the myth, that's exactly right. That's exactly right! I think I think most people in a a have the sponsors and that's why they want to replicate this way, but it also gets to something else, which is the other, we know about change and about creating new habits. It's easier in groups Well, I think this is true for entrepreneurs right. It's it's easier to start a company when you have a community of like minded community, absolute right. Easier to you know parent. When you have other parents, you gotta this kind of interesting reason. Why groups matter so much, which is that Intellectually, people might know that they're capable of change other capable starting a company or doing something great, but emotionally there's going to be that moment when, like all of a sudden, you think yourself Everything I could do this in this thing. happens. If you're in a group when that moment happens You can look across the room and say yourself, you know Jim over there? a moron and he's
If you can do it I sure, as hell can do it cause I'm smarter than that guy, that's actually really important. It turns out that, like having a group that is filled with a people who are like way to go Jonathan, great job. You can do this and also having people in that group. You can think to yourself as a slump and if he can do it, I can do it. It actually matters a lot. We know this from studies so and I think what this circling around to it like social context and social support. A huge part of supporting habit is that because I'm thinking about your the occasion of alcoholics or, people who are trying dealing with weight right right, Really time out, it's interesting to me because, on the one and you think, okay, if I do really effective job at replacing, that you know the queue and and the rewarded behavior like in the right or we're taking the queuing the reward and keeping them and changing the behavior do that a couple of times. We should be pretty much rocking and rolling
but these are things were I mean it's a lifelong thing that you have to keep repeating and repeating, and lifelong people want to keep going back to the behavior which brings up this. You didn't know of of how does the common the standing of addiction fit into this, whether its food, addictions, smoking alcohol sex, whatever people like love under addiction, is like, estimation, rightly given these addictions that that people feel powerless over that that we don't think This, like. Oh, that guy's got a real problem: the lightest lots of people who like wish they were more productive and they find he spent an hour a day, wasting time on Facebook and our more and more, as you spend our day That is where the worst they know you, kids and I do like email regular. black, bear the thing buzzes and or your Iphone or whatever you're, using and like unless you're playing with the kids, and you want to focus on the It is in a buzzing. You, like this crate,
the thing to see who just sent me like my fantasy football results that I don't need to know like classic intermittent reinforcement, I mean literally, creates addicted, flee. Bb, that's exactly right! That's it is. It's intermittent rewards, that's exactly what it is, and this has been perfected by video game designers by slot machines and so here's here's. What I think professionals would would answer that question addiction, specialists at point. There is a widespread belief that most addictions are not actually the differences. We have come to. Think of them, but have at this time, it's there, so some people who have chemical addictions too, for instance you, alcohol or drugs and heroin opiates are, we know, are physically addicting. It takes cigarettes if you smoke and you stop you're only physically addicted to cigarettes. About one hundred hours after your last cigarette once chemistry is based takes me. I wasn't Nixon's out of your bloodstream. Ok, there's nobody!
we know this from from blood studies and labs. Okay, why does a smoker two weeks or two years after they quit, crave that cigarette in the morning feel did when they have their their morning paper. It's because of the habit right, they ve encoded in Europe have with it says. I want that perhaps that nicotine used to give me when I'm sitting down in the morning, okay, so so what they need to do is I need to find something to provide a rake a double shot of espresso. So so beyond the national chemical addiction that debate Pattern of the itself can create an insane craving. It is actually as strong. If not, longer than a physical addiction right. We know this because we know that people who gave up to who gave up booze years later, still crave whatever provided. And I guess biologically they couldn't be. The chemical can't be right. You mean you, ve been off, you go up, it's the free here is. and we know actually with smartphones. It's the same thing from
people's brains, You feel it sends a craving when a buzzes in your pocket, but is because it triggers this habit, the sense of anticipating a reward and once you are anticipating that reward, even if with data emu five minutes ago or even if you are hungry for unknown at five minutes ago The key is there, the craving start at cravings enormously power right. yeah and I read the research showing that, like once it wanted at once. A process is initiated in your in your brain. Essentially, there is just an insane desire to finish the process to complete the loop right. Ready to actually that habit. Loop is minutes. It's like the simple thing right and you feel a vice so let's talk about this one of the concept that you that you write about and on it- and this is indeed trees that had so many conversations with people about this, because you know, if you go to a health specialist or something like okay,
you're, overweight, you're, stressed out you're. Ok, here's here's the thing, I'm going to send you home with your program I want to to meditate twice a day. I want you to change your diet. You can start eating healthfully. I want to start to exercise five days a week right get you so that you're working. Yet like on a bouncy ball in your office descent, and you got Ladys five new life alter. behavior. Is it like okay go? Is that even possible for us to do if the biggest loser, then you got like a camera crew following your red shirt or if you are right, everyone else. Absolutely not. I just know what I mean. Why not? Well, so, for a long time. That was exactly the advice that people would give right change your life, because we don't want you to get exposed to any of your old cues. It used to cost you and what would happen? people could do that for like a week or two, and then I would just all fall. Apart because you're, using so much willpower No, we used to think of willpower as this thing that, like
you either had it or you didn't, and if you had it, you could use it to change life and that's all right, it all We now know it's like I'm not support a presents, the disruptors. You know I didn't go out. There set my intentions to be like. I really want to be different, but I already knew that I was different, so anything I ever did It was always conscious of that. Kick now to listen and subscribe to the podcast. My projects, supported by the no votes, are running your own business. It's one of the bravest things you can do and you deserve a bank that celebrates the courage, Novo business, checking its design for people, just like you, unlike the traditional banking, I'll never has no minimum balances, no transaction limits and no hidden fees and the integrate seamlessly with stripe and shit.
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It's about willpower as a muscle and that gets to losing weight is a you can strengthen it through practice. Okay and b, you can side that willpower, if you make something into a habit, if it's an automatic reaction, but it doesn't tax, your willpower quite as much doesn't make that muscle. It isn't needed. muscle behind it for weight loss. This is a great example because one of the things they did. This is almost by accident. They figured this out they asked us these. These ecologists ass, a homeless people who depend on his way to start writing down just once a week what they were eating, and they were doing this actually just cause. They wanted like snapshots of these people's lives, but the people were doing it, some of them writing down everything that they're eating right. Food journal and then they started doing this kind of crazy thing where they would look at the yesterday's page. They would these patterns and come up and like write little plans for what to do the next day, where they would write what they were going to eat that night. So when they got home and they were tired, they were exhausted rather than just ordering takeout
just look at their journal and make what make a decision that they had made earlier in the day. when they found out with the psychologist. It was the food journaling is what's known as a so some habits have more power than and lives, and also within companies? They seem too. fuck. All these other changes are set off a chain reaction. Journaling is one of them. For some reason, if people start writing not ever in that they seem. Learn their own patterns much faster and be able to evil able to sidestep taxing their willpower muscle by a decision in the morning and kind of programming that they need to do it that night and then over time that turns into more of an automated habits exactly and then willpower willpower becomes largely or not. I guess you can't entirely remove it, but minimal, isolates or used use it for something else right, the more the more you lies in your life, the more you have we'll power left over for some other tasks, because you can
We basically like use willpower for like three to four things a day after that it just taps. that's so people who seem really really accomplished in theirs. When I'm Angela Duckworth has written about this a lot at the University of Pennsylvania and she's, the one who did that grid work. she did great work right. The insurance it about grit is that the people who seem super accomplished it's not because they have which were willpower than everyone else, because they, beat a huge amount of their day this big city on West Point and when she found out is that the people who succeed at West Point are the people who seem to have this habit, a gritty habit? a finding a community and talking to them basically have the social support like That doesn't seem obvious that at West point the people who find some friends they meet with every single morning with succeed, but grit has to become a habit, because otherwise there's just not enough willpower in the day to
get it done. Yeah I mean it's. It's amazing that we don't really think about it. Like that, I remember reading a study a couple of years back it was Talbot your heart did the study. The stamp students. I think I bet he took two groups of students and he said: okay walk down the hall, Group had memorized, keep five digits in their head, the other had to keep seven digits in it head. While they ok, he offered them either a bowl of fruit or piece of chocolate cake the difference between holding to It's in your memory, Mrs seven digits in your memory, completely creator willpower it like double the number of people who would take cake, because I guess that part of the brain that, like rush with willpower, is that easily depleted. or tax. It's amazing right and we feel, like I love it, you aren't we
That is why we are like primates concepts or, I can repeat my eye- was successful person. I should gradually reduced and yet look if I spent the entire morning doing meals violet after like others, cookie death, cookie. That say that thing You know it's like especially like when you're out, so you just wrote a big book when I'm writing a book saying I need to write in the morning right You know our kids, if I know, if I'm saving too late afternoon, I'm blasted yeah No, it's true is, and if so means that, like just being aware of that, helps you planned out your day, with learning that you have to write in the morning means that you can become a more productive and because, rather than dealing with all the emails that you just put them off until three o'clock cause, that's the time that you're going to have the mental capacity to do it yeah. No, that makes perfect sense. the Keystone have so you one really killer champ few food journaling right right, but does it
I in this case the food generally just, two if change in the way that people eat, or does it start to ripple out it ripples through a person's life? So, there's these fascinating studies that have looked at what happens when, for instance, people start as an exercise, another big keystone habit and differ from personal position or issue, but there It seemed consistent like exercise so in people. exercising they tend to start eating better. I may sense right. You feel good about you feeling good about yourself. You want to eat something good. They also start using their credit card. Less really. does it make any sense right exercise. Nothing to do with credit cards, but it's because exercise is this keystone habit that ripples through a person's life? when they start exercising couple things happen, they tend to. First of all, their self image of themselves tends to change, that's one of the ways the keys and have it works as a change is our culture and organization are self image and when you use image on the type of guy who runs every morning,
and the guy who can resist buying that thing at the you know when I'm checking out, but it also helps us. It also strengthens that willpower muscle. that's why Keystone habits seem to be so powerful is because it gives us a method for strengthening our sense of willpower and for strengthening our sense of self right, it's even more powerful inside corporations. How this give me an example within an organism so so one of the best ones it and we go into this in the book- is when Paulo Neil took over Alcoa. So he ended up becoming trade sector before then the reason he was treasury secondary because he was famous for turning around October, which the biggest aluminum manufacturer on earth, so when he took over Alcoa, it was a troubled company, so he has it's big meeting, where he's going to announces his grand strategy and all the stock analysts from Wall Street come in they'll expect them to say we're going to increase profit
its and productivity and we're going to really lean on workers, and he stands up on stage and he says my number one priority is worker safety. I want to. Change your habits, run worker safety and get injuries everything the audience freaks out, because because this is not what they expected to hear right. It's like what's that gonna do what would I do that? But what Paul O'Neill knew- and he told me this- was that if he could change habit, run worker safety. It would be this keystone habit for our that would change everything else In fact that has happened. What happened within a year there were one of the most profitable company, within the DOW Jones Industrial Average, the next here they were the most profitable company with the Doubt Jones index. and the reason. Why is because by changing worker safety, he unlocked all these other habits organizational have is roughly organism, so he found that one
and there were probably like one hundred different things he could have chosen exactly that. He found one that happened to be this thing that had the ripple effect on the rest of the race you can add people can find that in their own life or inside their own company right. The way we find the way we find Keystone habits. According to all these studies, you look for things that seem to speak to your culture and values. You look for things that seem to provide a platform for other changes, right worker safety to temporary workers safety. you actually have to change production and, if you're going to change production, you probably have to make it better. But the third thing is Keystone: habits are things that offer opportunities for small, wins. There's this. This really interesting bodies that were called the science. Al Tom, Peters and crawl week. they talk about. Is you need to find things that offer you these small little rewards during your day or or in the week of an organisation that those become the step?
stones. For these massive changes, which is also why I food journaling right, you yeah, yeah, you know you can say. Like I had three good days, I don't have Hence my entire life, because I'm an inch change over the next six months and that's going to last forever so so we take these things out and we're looking for these things within this keystone have us to really start to settle but the habits emotion, but about the role of belief in this whole process, So let's say you like: do I have to believe that through changing my nutrition, it will make a massive change. My health or I'll, be there I'll be what actually lose weight or I'll be out to the workers in color have to believe that will actually make a difference for the ripple to start to expand. That absolutely belief is absolutely critical and it gets back to what we were talking about before that intellectually believe that change is possible
but emotionally at some point, you're going to have doubts, and so the We know from studies Unless you make it through those periods of doubt, unless you genuinely believe you're going to change or that you can build that company, it's just not going to come together. So so then I guess to a certain extent The little wins is one form of providing incremental little nuggets. Believe I it's like proof exec up. Well, maybe this is possible I mean I mean: is that now at it and also are there other through and still believe so So the exactly right. That's why small winds are so powerful is because it provides as little pieces of evidence. They were on the right, It's also like little experiments that sometimes leads to serendipity right eye. I tried to exploit a couple minutes and it worked, and it turns out there's a great path that way, but other things you have to do for this belief. Never number one most easy to achieve this belief as we discussed if you're.
a group right. You need social support, someone to carry you through those moments when you, when you don't really necessarily believe that you can do it, but number two. You have to provide yourself genuine rewards. the way so the food journals a really interesting, because what would look at these food journals? The people who use them to create new eating habits, but they were found, was that people would have one two or three days of great eating. They would write down what they're going to eat, to have a hit changed, okay and then, on the fourth day, like everything would fall apart, it would be like a tough day and that person would like ice cream, when they got home, they were totally and they would write it down in their food journal and what they found was the people who allowed themselves to have some kind of reward allowed themselves to lapse those people stuck with their diets the longest I became more automatic because gets back to the habit that you need.
this reward somewhere in this habit vacuum the routine, the reward son the reward is I've had three great days I'm going to let myself have a bad day now It became four days and five days and it's expensive. It was just kind of fascinating cause. There's yeah, like TIM Ferriss, who was famous for all these different books and in his last book he was talking about like his approach to nutrition. which is basically six days on and one cheat day right, and then he got blasted by a lot of people for saying like well like if you're really hardcore that she didn't. It's not really cool, but I guess the bigger happening there. I think there is an end like take Michael Philips, Michael Phelps, trains. Seven days a week, Everything that Michael Phelps does is habitual. In fact, if you talk to his coach, which I did for the There's all he talks about. Is we? If we get the right habits down, Michael Phelps will so Michael votes people train six days a week, Michael Phelps decided to train seven days a week, because be one seventh in better shape
so some people can get to that place where they are hardcore. Now, if you talk to Michael Phelps about this, he cheats in other ways right, like his rule, is, after a certain time of day, he's allowed to eat whatever he wants, and so I think for temporary. His diet like having one she day, the shabby some outlet, she's gotta, be somehow reward some yet cravings build up have to accommodate them and question is: are you going to choose how to accommodate them? You just get the pressure build until they overwhelming threat, so Means fat- I love this because I learned so much from this conversation and from the book, but would like the big The way for me was that What we are really like, we're so much more likely. it that I kind of knew that already but yeah more like like dogs like Pavlov's dogs and, like you, know, we're not that that evolved when it comes to creating these habitual things
habits are good or bad, just Ratan? This is this is a bad, this how at forty five per of our days are basically how to date and what is really good cause a freezer. Your cognitive processing to go and do other things. So so it's a matter of understanding What are the elements that form it? and also understanding. Okay, if I have it but I really I want to reinforce okay now I understand how it's warm and how it's built and reinforce- and now I can do that and also I have a habit that won't change cause like use shared. We can't really eliminate that they're, always there we can kind of rape on top of them then the big thing is really understanding how loot works, allows you to work with the queue and their behavior at the Reward and and the belief- and you know the social sports wrapped around it right and I think the big takeaway also is that you right, like are in some case we're powerless to not have habits in our lives.
but the difference between us and Pavlov's dogs is I started ringing that Bell the dog start slobbering. It couldn't change that. For for us, particular with what we learned the last decade. We can mediate the process through decision making, we can intermix whether we respond habitually in what habit unfolds by choosing a few words in the elect the best part about this book is learning. How malleable habits are theirs literally, no haven't the cap that can't be changed at any time in a person's life. You just have to understand how it works and it doesn't get simpler, easier, your easy, but it definite simpler and easier. once you know where to start yeah, I love it. In a fabulous conversation. I thank you so much time spent do you hate whose investigation was in your times and times, and the author of this great new book go check it out.
I have it, love it love it love it doing phenomenally by the way I've been lucky something or writes that yeah. I know it's it's been. It's been good, so far, knock on wood, it'll it'll continue to thank you so much. Thank you. Hey thanks. So much for listening, and thanks also to our fantastic sponsors who helped make this show possible. You can check men, out in the links we've included in today's show notes and while you're at it be sure to click on the subscribe button in your listening app. So you never miss an episode and then share the good life project, love with friends, because ideas become conversations that lead to action. That's when real change, takes, hold, see you next time. the.
Transcript generated on 2022-03-23.