735: The Best Ways to Rewrite Bad Habits w/ Charles Duhigg

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About This Episode

Building a new habit can be difficult if you approach it with the wrong tools and misinformation, but what does the science tell us about forming new habits, what are the right tools you need when it comes to successful habit building, and what can you start doing today to make sure you’re not getting in your own way?

What to Listen For

  • Why is the community you surround yourself with so important to the development of new habits and the perpetuation of bad ones?
  • Charles Duhigg explains why standard to-do lists are terrible for productivity and what an effective replacement looks like
  • What is the habit loop and how can you use the knowledge of it to change any habit you want?
  • How can you use the science of small wins to start making changes to your habits immediately?
  • What are some tricks you can use to stay motivated when building a new habit or breaking an old one?
  • How are intentional choices related to motivation when it comes to the psychology of routine and satisfaction?
  • Why is it almost impossible to “break” a habit and what should we do instead if we want to get rid of bad habits?
  • How can you determine the cues of bad habits so you can take them into account and prevent the bad habits from being triggered in the first place?
  • Charles Duhigg explains the one thing ex-smokers do that stops them from relapsing
  • What are mental models and how is our ability to create them directly related to our success in life?

Many of us are led to believe the formation of new habits is accomplished through a brute force approach via willpower, aka that it is entirely internal. However, the science behind habit building says otherwise – our external environment and the people around us play a significant role.

If you build an environment conducive to success it becomes infinitely easier to develop new habits and replace old ones. This can mean anything from identifying the cues that trigger bad habits and removing them, or replacing the bad habit with a good one. It can also mean surrounding yourself with a community that focuses on the habit you’re trying to build – for example, joining a weekly meetup group for writers instead of relying on your own willpower to sit down and write consistently.

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Resources from this Episode

“The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg

“Smart Faster Better” by Charles Duhigg


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AJ Harbinger - author of 1152 posts on The Art of Charm

AJ Harbinger is one of the world’s top relationship development experts. His company, The Art of Charm, is a leading training facility for top performers that want to overcome social anxiety, develop social capital and build relationships of the highest quality. Raised by a single father, AJ felt a strong desire to learn about relationships and the elements that make them successful. However, this interest went largely untapped for many years. Following the path set out for him by his family, AJ studied biology in college and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at the University of Michigan. It was at this time that he began to feel immense pressure from the cancer lab he worked in and began to explore other outlets for expression. It was at this point that The Art of Charm Podcast was born.

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