Friday, August 29, 2014

Songs and Habits

I sing my daughter a handful of bedtime songs some nights (when she doesn't just kick me out).
I also read nonfiction self-help books from time to time.  Consider this my review of the ones that have seemed useful.  Mediated through bedtime songs.

I can't go straight from verse 1 / chorus to verse 2 of one of the songs I sing.  There's a mental blank.  After verse 1 / chorus, I quietly cycle through the openings to verse 4 and verse 3, landing on verse 2, and start singing.

This is a habit.  It's part of the cue/routine/reward habit cycle that Charles Duhigg outlines in the The Power of Habit.

If I wanted to, I could change the habit, and indeed can change almost any parts of my behavior/personality.  Because in general most of our characteristics and preferences are mutable, rather than immutable.  Or so I was informed by Carol Dweck in Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

And of course if changing that habit, or adjusting my mindset in another way seemed hard, I could listen again to Kelly McGonigal's The Willpower Instinct for techniques to increase my willpower.  (which isn't quite the right way to look at it, but close enough).

Or I could just sing to my daughter, little idiosyncrasies intact.

(Note that the reason I have a separate blog about parenting is because this is the parenting version of this post.)

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