The Power of Habits

The Power of Habits

The Power of Habits

The Power of Habits

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United States
Meredith Corporation
13,15 €(IVA inc.)

en este número

7 min.
creatures of habits

BARACK OBAMA organized every aspect of his day as president so that routine decisions took as little cognitive energy as possible—allowing him to focus on the high-stakes decisions. “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” Obama told Vanity Fair in 2012. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” He referred to research that shows the simple act of making a decision degrades one’s ability to make further decisions, and noted that’s why shopping can be exhausting. The president’s advice: remove from your life the day-to-day problems that consume most people for meaningful parts of their day. “You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself.…

10 min.
small changes, big results

EVERY NIGHT after dinner, Audrey Slater has a little ritual. She kicks her husband and teen daughter out of the kitchen and listens to podcasts while she cleans up. “Here’s the Thing, Pod Save America, and The Axe Files are some of my favorites,” says Slater, who lives in Madison, Connecticut, and is a wardrobe stylist at Live with Kelly and Ryan. “It’s amazing. I now actually look forward to doing the dishes.” I also do a little something that has made a world of difference in my day. It’s nothing profound or spiritual, but it is plenty satisfying. During the four dead minutes while I wait for my oatmeal to cook, I quickly unload the dish washer. Boom, done. One task eliminated before I’ve even had breakfast. As it turns out,…

17 min.
safety first, benefits follow

ON A BLUSTERY October day in 1987, a herd of prominent Wall Street investors and stock analysts gathered in the ballroom of a posh Manhattan hotel. They were there to meet the new CEO of the Aluminum Company of America—or Alcoa, as it was known—a corporation that, for nearly a century, had manufactured everything from the foil that wraps Hershey’s Kisses and the metal in Coca-Cola cans to the bolts that hold satellites together. Alcoa’s founder had invented the process for smelting aluminum in 1886, and since then the company had become one of the largest on earth. Many of the people in the audience had invested millions of dollars in Alcoa stock and had enjoyed a steady return. In the past year, however, investor grumblings had started. Alcoa’s management had…

7 min.
kids and habits: a love story

MELANIE LASOFF Levs had a plan to help her son Jordan—who was approaching age 2—give up his pacifier before starting preschool. After finding the idea on the internet, she created what she called “an elaborate ritual that would involve several helium balloons that would float it up to the ‘paci fairy.’” She gathered her husband, Josh; their 5-year-old; and Jordan outside for the ceremony. On the first try, the paci fell to the earth with a clunk (not enough balloons). Josh ran out for more, while Levs, now a mom to three in Atlanta, “freaked out.” Jordan sat on the ground with “no idea what was going on,” she recalls. On the second try, the paci took to the sky—while the family yelled exuberantly, “Bye, bye, paci!”—and then promptly got…

2 min.
4 steps to helping your kids make a change

1. PICK YOUR MOMENT. Don’t try to get rid of the pacifier when you have just moved to a new house or it’s the start of the school year. “Adults think of transitions as a great time to have a fresh start, but try to think about transitions from your kid’s point of view,” says Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure. You might tell him, “When you move into your big-boy bed, you won’t need your pacifier anymore,” but the pacifier may be exactly what he needs to weather that scary transition. And bring up the idea in moments of calm, when your child is not in need of self-soothing. 2. HELP THEM UNDERSTAND WHAT’S HAPPENING. You can show your child you understand his emotions and help him understand his own…

3 min.
help your child develop healthy habits

1. AVOID EXTERNAL REWARDS. A meta-analysis of more than 40 studies on habit formation showed that external rewards or deterrents—sticker charts, paying for grades, punishment—undermine motivation and aren’t helpful for forming good habits. “The reward isn’t enough to sustain the habit long-term,” says Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure. “For middle-school kids and older, you really need to be talking with them about why you’re trying to develop a habit,” and then you need to be a role model. 2. MODEL GOOD HABIT FORMATION. “You may not realize your kids are watching you or paying attention, but they are,” warns psychologist and author Susan Newman. “And I think parents forget that they are the teacher and role model. It’s their job to instill the repetition—putting the napkin on the lap, saying…