Charles Duhigg: The Power of Habit [Best of]

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, 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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