Hamster Wheels, Treadmills, and Other Paths to Nowhere

Wouldn’t that be an awesome book title?

I call dibs. I think I would write the book about practicing mindfulness, but in this case, I’m using it to get your attention and listen to my latest book review. Oooh yeah, Yogini B Bookclub time, y’all!


I just read Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit. While it’s not earth-shattering, the book provides great insight to the creation and destruction of habits. Duhigg’s writing is both informative and entertaining, making this book an easy read.

Our brains need habits for many reasons. They need to slow down, to relax, and to know when they’re safe. Duhigg stresses the importance of habits, but missed an opportunity to name the difference between a new action and being a habit drone: mindfulness. Here’s what I took away for my own use: Mindfulness matters. When you wake up, do you eat from hunger or because waking up means breakfast? Do you hate someone because it was validating five years ago, but now you can’t stop? If we’re mindful of our actions we will discover what habits are helpful and which are harmful.

A habit is a loop/hamster wheel/treadmill that operates because of a cue that signals your brain of a reward. We can rewire our brains by finding the cue and replacing the reward with something healthier for ourselves.

Also interesting to think about are keystone habits. When I started practicing yoga every day, eventually my diet, my interactions with people, my sleep schedule, and fitness level all started chaning. By only focusing on one habit, everything else came together on its own to support my healthier lifestyle. If I would have tried to do yoga every day plus eat healthy, be nicer to people, be more mindful, sleep more, and get to the gym, I would have failed.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants a little bit of re-wiring or to examine the “why” of their actions. Duhigg uses tons of research, examples, and visuals to help you help yourself off the hamster wheel.


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