The Power of Habit

Nathanael Yellis By Nathanael Yellis • Last Updated May 18, 2021

Humans are creatures of habit.

The Power of Habit is an excellent book. Using a simple explanation of what habits are, Charles Duhigg moves from neurons to societies, showing the great utility of his thesis: the habit loop.

The habit loop shows why people do things, and that understanding, of behavioral patterns and motivations, is the starting point for change. By change, Duhigg means not only personal betterment, but everything from successfully marketing new products to improving large organizations.

Marketing is about human beings and their behavior, thus it's about habits. These are the questions I'd ask to get to the core of the habit loop.

Identify the habit loop to market successfully.

  • Who is the person?
  • What's the core routine behavior we're looking for? 
  • Does a habit already exist?
    • If not, why would someone adopt a new behavior? Does it start with a cue or a reward?
    • If yes, why would someone want to change?
  • How will the person notice the cue? What about it compels them to do the behavior?
  • What's the minimum necessary behavior at first? How much activity could the cue result in?
  • How does the reward work? How long before the cue reappears?

Stay tuned for a case study: how Heritage Action used the habit loop in our legislative scorecard.

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