Every morning I get out of bed, grind up a pill and put it in my cat’s food for him to eat. I don’t have to remind myself to give him his pill or struggle with whether I’m going to do it.
I do it because it’s a habit.
I’ve made it a habit because he is relying on me and it’s my responsibility (not to mention I want to keep him as healthy as possible).
Habits are totally fascinating.
Whether you realize it or not your habits make up a big percentage of your daily life.
By mastering your habits you can massively improve your life.
Your habits can either enhance your life or hold you back. Worse your habits could sabotage your life completely.
The books below look at habits from a variety of different angles.
They look at the habits that have you brushing your teeth every day as well as the key behaviors that can help you succeed in life.
Here are my suggestions for the 10 best books on habits so that you can learn how to break old habits and create new ones.
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Being completely transparent, I haven’t read all of the books myself. I’ve read the first 3 as well as the last one. I’ll talk about this more as I move through the list.
Heads up if you click on the author’s name in each heading you will see a list of all of their other books, so lots for you to explore if you so choose.
Let’s dive in.
1. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
This was the first book that I read on habits. It’s helped me understand how habits work and most importantly how you can go about changing a habit.
The Power of Habit has a strong emphasis on the habits of organizations as well as the habits of society.
This book makes its point through stories backed up by research and data.
2. Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin
Gretchen has a great way of looking at habits. She looks at them from a different perspective to some of the other authors in this list.
Gretchen acknowledges that people are different and they need different strategies to master their habits. Gretchen talks about building and changing your habits based on your tendencies, personality, and existing strengths.
She also talks about the importance of monitoring.
I particularly enjoyed the chapter on decision-making and willpower. Really interesting stuff.
Better Than Before introduced me to The Four Tendencies (which is now another great book of Gretchen’s and a great read as well). I enjoyed reading about the four tendencies in the first book so much that I jumped at her new book when it came out.
Better Than Before will have you implementing changes in your life by getting to know yourself better and working with what you already have.
3. High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard
I absolutely love, love, love this book. Brendon writes about the six habits of high performers based on his long history of research, coaching, and using the techniques himself.
Brendon’s book is one of the books based on behavioral habits. In particular, the six key habits used by high performers to achieve at the levels they do.
I got a lot out of this book and I am sure you will as well.
Make sure you have a look at Brendon’s author page for more of his excellent books. Brendon is a great writer and an inspiring and knowledgeable leader in his field.
4. The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
I haven’t read this one but I have seen pictures and stories raving about it all over the Internet (so something good must be going on there).
If you haven’t heard of this one already, I would be really surprised.
This book can help you take charge of your mornings, your habits, and consequently your life.
Personally, I know how important mornings are because for me mornings are my most productive time (and this from someone who grew up a night owl and was not a morning person at all).
Though I think I have an okay morning schedule, I know it needs improving so this one is definitely on my reading list.
Hal has gone on to write a series of books aimed at specific people and occupations such as writers, entrepreneurs, and parents (just to name a few) so make sure you check out his other books on his author page.
5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
This book is an oldie but a goodie. Considering this book had its 25th-anniversary edition five years ago, it’s safe to say it’s been helping people become effective for quite a while now!
With this book you will get an overview, learn about paradigms, then you will dive into the 7 habits.
6. Habit Stacking by S. J. Scott
I am intrigued by the idea of habit stacking.
You might not realize it but you probably habit stack every workday. To get you to work in the morning, you do a series of habits like brushing your teeth, having a shower (if you shower in the morning), and getting dressed.
This book covers 127 small changes you can make. If you can stack more of your habits, you can benefit.
7. Mini Habits by Stephen Guise
We often forget the power of starting small. We think we have to go all-in or go home. It’s that all-or-nothing approach that can, unfortunately, leave us with nothing.
Often it’s not the task itself that has the power but the consistency of completing the task, over and over again.
Consistency is where the magic starts to happen.
If you’ve had a problem trying to create new habits, perhaps the problem lies in you thinking big picture and taking on more than you are ready for.
The tagline of this book says it all – smaller habits, bigger results. Read this book, start with a mini habit and see how you go.
8. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy starts with The Compound Effect in action and then goes on to discuss the five contributing factors, one of which is habits to achieve the results you are looking for.
From what I can see this book says it like it is, so if you are looking for a quick fix for your problems without any work on your part, you are probably barking up the wrong tree.
But if you use the strategies and tactics in this book, your positive results can build on each other and get you closer to your version of success.
9. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
As a creative myself I understand how important habits and routines are for a creative person.
Being creative can be a scary, beautiful, challenging, frightening, empowering thing.
This book contains 32 practical exercises based on Twyla’s many years of experience to get you into the creative habit.
10. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k by Mark Manson
Okay, so this book isn’t about habits as per the other books on this list.
But it is about changing the habit of what you allow to upset you and what you allow to be important in your life.
I absolutely loved this book, so much so that I bought 3 copies and gave two to my friends.
This book is thought-provoking, confronting, controversial in parts, and inspiring. It will make you question yourself and get you thinking about things differently.
When I was going through a particularly hard time at work, I carried this book around in my handbag and read it to and from work on the train every morning. It helped me deal with the crappy stuff going on around me.
It reminded me to focus on what was important in my life and that I had choices, despite the chaos at work.
If you haven’t guessed already by the title, this book contains swearing, quite a bit of it in fact, so if that bothers you, this book probably isn’t for you.
There’s a very good reason this book is currently sitting at number 2 on the Amazon Charts most-read non-fiction list. It’s brilliant, so get yourself a copy.
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I hope one or more of these books on habits helps you to become the best version of yourself. Master your habits – excel in life.
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