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TIME The Power of Habits

TIME The Power of Habits

TIME The Power of Habits

New Year’s resolutions always collapse by February? Find it impossible to not snack while watching TV? Wish exercising was as automatic as brushing your teeth? The key is habit formation. Fortunately, the editors of TIME have created this new special edition, The Power of Habits. This accessible, comprehensive guide takes you through the burgeoning science of just how the mind creates or quits habits. Learn How to Tame the Wild Inside You, reconsider Embracing Family Habits, establish why habits are so important for kids, and how they influence romantic relationships. The Power of Habits also takes a powerful look at Bad Habits, explores the complex debate about habit and addiction and the implications for change and cure. Get a peek at Habits of the Rich and Famous, Habits Around the World, and even 30 Personal Finance Habits Everyone Should Follow. Over time, habits become routines, then powerful rituals, and even traditions that span generations. And yet so many of our habits—healthy ones and not—were formed early in our lives when we had little to say about them. But you can rewrite the code! Let The Power of Habits help you establish new healthy behaviors or finally rid yourself of unhealthy ones and totally transform who you are and who you will become.

Pays:
United States
Langue:
English
Éditeur:
Meredith Corporation
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7 min.
how habits make (and break) us

YOU’RE MORE LIKE A PAIR OF PANTS THAN YOU think. We all are. We also have a fair bit in common with a violin, a balky lock and a folded piece of paper. That, at least, is how the 19th-century French psychologist and philosopher Léon Dumont saw us. Dumont had a knack for tackling irresistible aspects of human behavior: the science of laughter, of gratitude, of empathy. He also, famously, pondered the science of habits. To him, our tendency to form unconscious behavioral patterns—to learn an action, sometimes link it to a whole series of actions and then repeat it again and again and again, often entirely unconsciously—was less a matter of mind than a matter of physics. We do not so much direct our own actions as become shaped by…

13 min.
how to tame the wild inside you

PITY YOUR PREFRONTAL CORTEX—THE CEO AND chief justice of the bedlam that is your brain. It’s the prefrontal that has to reconcile the artiste of your right hemisphere with the logician of your left, the tough guy of your hypothalamus with the drama queen of your anterior cingulate cortex. All that seems like more than enough. But then comes the job of wrangling the dorm rats and party animals of your midbrain, the place where your most decadent appetites—for drinking, gambling, eating, smoking, shopping, sloth, sex—come to get fed. The battle between your noble lobes and your ignoble ones isn’t even close. Eating, having sex and sleeping are vital for the survival of the species, so evolution arranged for them to be irresistibly pleasurable. Acquisitiveness is important too, so shopping and…

3 min.
how better habits can make your day

Crucial though it is, willpower doesn’t act alone. It is channeled—or undermined—by our daily routines, the patterns of behavior we mindlessly follow. So contends The Power of Habit, by former New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg. More than 40% of the actions we perform each day are the product not of deliberate decisions but of often-unconscious habit, Duhigg notes, and many of these rote activities work against what we consciously desire, as when we put too much food on our plate despite wanting to lose weight. Fortunately, it’s possible to change our habits. The “golden rule of habit change,” according to Duhigg, is to keep the old cue (the signal that leads you to initiate a routine) and the old reward (the gratifying experience that reinforces the routine) but insert a…

1 min.
the dark side of your wake-up routine

BAD MORNING Rushing out of bed and worrying about the day’s to-do list while showering can prime the brain against flexible thinking. GOOD MORNING Help get the brain into the right zone for problem-solving by lounging in bed for a few minutes and then relaxing with a soak. MINDFULNESS Simply resisting an urge makes it worse. Accept the craving and use breathing or other methods to relax. PAUSE AND PLAN Have a practice in place for dealing with cravings. That brings your higher brain into the game.…

1 min.
getting help from your future self

We all know we’ll get old, but we don’t act that way. Technology allows people to see how they’ll look in the future—and better plan for that person to come. Psychologist Hal Hershfield of UCLA’s Anderson School of Management uses two techniques to give subjects a glimpse into the future: common aging software (below, working its magic on Mark Zuckerberg) and a more exotic virtual-reality system (right) that superimposes an older version of the self on the image in a full-length mirror. Subjects who have been through either experience tend to put away more money in a simulated 401(k) experiment than those who haven’t. Hershfield has worked with a business insurer to develop similar aging software that human-resources departments can use when new hires are making real retirement decisions. Merely…

1 min.
why we lose control (and yes, we all do)

CUE EXPOSURE Favorite foods, free drinks or the smell of cigarettes trigger a desire, setting a perilous cycle in motion. LAPSE-ACTIVATED CONSUMPTION Also known as the what-the-hell effect. You fall off the wagon and then binge, since really, what does it matter now? NEGATIVE MOOD We treat psychic pain with our preferred substance. This worsens the what-the-hell effect. RESOURCE DEPLETION Glucose is the brain’s main fuel. Some researchers believe that when we’re running low on it, our willpower flags and we’re much more likely to give in to temptation.…