Welcome to this page about building better habits. You can find my best articles on habits here. Why do habits matter? Will Durant said it best:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
I believe that’s also true for the opposite of excellence — mediocrity results from mediocre habits. So we can shift from mediocrity to excellence by practicing better habits.
On This Page
- What are habits?
- Habits that work and habits that don’t
- How to form better habits and make them stick
- How to break bad habits
- Best books on habits
- Read all articles on habits
What are habits?
Habits are small decisions and actions you make each day. They are the incremental things you do that sum up your life. In a study, researchers found that habits direct about 40 percent of our behavior each day.
Now, we want to be clear about something: Habits change our lives. But they don’t guarantee success. Correlation doesn’t mean causation. Just because billionaires get up at 4 am doesn’t mean waking up early would make us billionaires.
So when I talk about building better habits, I don’t talk about outcomes. I talk about the process of changing our behavior to improve the quality of our lives.
Habits that work and habits that don’t
Look, I can talk to you about ‘good’ habits all day long, but that’s not helpful. The reason is that only YOU can decide what a good habit is. Deciding if a habit is worth it to you is critical in forming new habits.
Maybe waking up early is actually helpful to you. I don’t know. When I wake up early, I behave like a grumpy old man who hates people.
Just ask yourself this: “Will this behavior improve the quality of my life?”
The reason you want to ask yourself that question is that you need a reason to change. You need a why. That requires introspection.
If you do that right, you come to the conclusion that you can’t change external factors, but you CAN change yourself.
How to form better habits and make them stick
We’ve all tried to form better habits and then fail. Just think of those new year’s resolutions you’ve scrapped.
Over the years, I’ve tried and tested various ways to make better habits stick. In this article, I share my complete process.
- Decide what habits are worth it—Only decide to form a habit that’s truly worth it to you.
- Focus on one habit at a time—When you focus on one habit per area of your life, you can give it more attention.
- Set the bar very low—Avoid taking on too much when you form a new habit.
- Use checklists—We must use checklists to remind ourselves of what we’re trying to achieve.
How to break bad habits
Sometimes, we try the weirdest things to break our bad habits. In the past, I experimented with all sorts of tactics. But none of the conventional tricks and tips worked for me in the long run.
Here’s one of those tips that never really worked: “Replace a bad habit with a good one.”
When we form good habits, we’re often told to focus on ONE good habit at a time. That makes sense because it’s easy to give up on our progress when we’re trying too many new habits at once.
But that doesn’t mean we should only break one bad habit at a time. Think about this: If your new habit is to work out more regularly, would you be helping yourself by keeping your bad habit of binge-eating junk food?
Instead, try breaking ALL your bad habits at once. I’m not talking about physiological habits, like smoking. But those common ones, like binge-watching, binge-eating, and so forth. It’s an extreme approach. But if you’re truly committed to it, you’ll find it’s the approach that works best.
Another reason we don’t break bad habits is that we don’t recognize them as something bad. Take working too much, for example. Thanks to hustle culture, staying up all night is being glorified.
Best books about habits
The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg — Forming new habits is a practical skill that immediately impacts the quality of your life. Want to lose weight? Be more productive? Exercise regularly? Build successful companies? One thing is sure: Without habits, those things will be extremely difficult to pull off.
Daily Rituals by Mason Currey — A unique insight into the habits and rituals of the world’s most renowned figures. You’ll be surprised how simple their lives were.
Atomic Habits by James Clear — This has become the go-to book for building better habits. It’s a great system that works well.
Read all articles on habits
Over the years, I’ve tried and tested various ways to make better habits stick. Here are all the articles I’ve written about habits!
- 3 Habits to Stay Healthy in a Hectic World
- Better Money Habits to Become Financially Free
- How The Simple Act of Showing Up Can Make You Successful
- How to Be Wise
- My 88-Year-Old Grandfather’s Approach to Habit-Forming
- Try This If You Can’t Stop Working At Night
- Stop Worrying About Missed Habits
- What Factors Predict Whether A Person Becomes Successful?
- 5 Personality Traits That Make You Mentally Tough
- The Law Of Momentum: How To Become Unstoppable
- 1 Habit That Changed My Life
- Intermittent Fasting Is Not A Miracle Solution
- Why I Stopped Being Busy
- Why You Can’t Break Your Bad Habits
- How To Make Next Year Your Best Year
- 15 Useful Activities That Are Worth Your Time
- This Strategy Makes Procrastination Impossible
- 10 Small Habits That Have A Huge Return On Life
- Accelerate Your Learning Curve With These 5 Tips
- Goals Don’t Replace Systems - And Vice Versa
- Transform Your Life By Transforming Your Habits
- How To Successfully Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions
- This Ancient Habit Will Maximize Your Focus
- 5 Zen Principles To Live By
- 4 Ideas To Improve Your Creative Thinking
- This Is How I Form Good Habits That Actually Stick