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, a new book by 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 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...

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