Book Review: The Power of Habit

Ah. Such a great read. It’s about pathways in our brains that cause activities to become habits. He approaches the topic from a personal, community, and organizational perspective. I found it interesting to read up on how the culture and subculture of large companies grew from (seemingly) small occurrences that eventually became the norm.

power of habit


From simple activities like why we go to the cafeteria at the same time every day- to casual gamblers becoming full-fledged addicts who spend their life savings and then some in the casino, the book is presented in an easy to read way, mixing anecdotes with research.

It was a quick read and really got me thinking. I don’t want to summarize the whole thing so I’ll just talk about the basics.

The basis of every habit is a habit loop:

cue —> routine —> reward

This really got me to look at my behaviors, and think about the cues that cause them (taking pretzels from the pantry, or going out to get a diet coke) and why. What reward am I seeking. Am I really hungry? Do I need caffeine? Am I bored?

While the habit loop is simple, the author does not suggest that changing habits is easy to navigate because (obviously) everyone is unique. We have different triggers and emotions tied to our habits that can make them more or less difficult to break.

However the simplicity in the habit loop does create clear guide for how to start a new habit. He used the example of leaving running shoes right by the bed. You see them every morning (cue). You go for a run (routine). You feel accomplished/ endorphin high, etc. (reward)

In order to begin a new and lasting habit, we need to identify cues to remind us of the habit, and it’s equally,if not more, important to have your routine attached to a reward. That reward keeps us coming back for more, and our brain craves it!


ANYWAY…I def recommend. I couldn’t stop yacking about it to my husband while I was reading it!

Have you read it? What did you think?




Book Review: Happier at Home

I read Gretchen Rubin’s  Happiness Project about 6 months ago, and I was excited to dive into part 2 when I saw it at the library a couple of weeks ago. Some quick background- The Happiness Project was based around 12 months spent focusing on personal resolutions to improve happiness going month by month. The second book (obviously) focuses specifically on happiness at home- relationships with her family members, organization, honing a skill, etc. every month for a school year.



Without summarizing each of her resolutions, I wanted to focus on a couple important truths I gleaned about happiness

  • “Happiness doesn’t always mean being happy”  It’s important to note that her focus was clearly not on immediate gratification- which is very different, but sometimes in our culture can be masked, as happiness. Sometimes (or more often than we’d like) we need to do something challenging- and while at first it may be difficult or annoying- it will eventually bring contentment. Everyone has probably experienced this after cleaning the house or organizing a closet. “Outer order contributes to inner calm”.
  • “Happy people make people happy, but
    I can’t make someone be happy, and
    No one else can make me be happy”

I love this because it demonstrates that happiness can really set a tone. [side note- I’m currently reading Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyer so I’m interested to read more into the power of positivity as far as yielding more positivity]

  • “Just because it makes some people happy, doesn’t mean it makes me happy.”  I LOVE this. Everyone has their own definition and version of happiness and this includes hobbies. I find joy in exercising, cooking, and reading books about positive psychology [and I’m obviously a 40 year old trapped in a 24 year old’s body]. My happy does not equal your happy and that’s ok. That’s what makes the world go round.

Finally- One question Gretchen brought up in The Happiness Project was “Is it a waste to spend so much time and energy focusing on my own happiness?” I think the answer is no. No one else is going to improve my quality of life except me. Only I can make me be happy. And when I’m happy, that positivity will reciprocate and then will I be ready and willing to help others.

Have you read any good books lately? Have you read the Happiness Project? What did you think?