They mostly operate below the level of consciousness, but everyday habits and routines govern a surprisingly large portion of our behavior, according to Charles DuHigg, author of The Power of Habit. Many such habits are healthy or innocuous — like eating oatmeal for breakfast or vacuuming on Sundays — but some come with life-threatening consequences. And changing them, as anyone who has tried to diet or quit smoking knows, can be torturous.
In his book, DuHigg, a New York Times reporter by day, provides fascinating insight into the nuts and bolts of habit formation — and change. Healthland spoke with him about how to better understand and take control of these routines.