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What Are Habits?
Let's define habits. Habits are the small decisions you make and actions you perform every day. According to researchers at Duke University, habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors on any given day.
Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits. How in shape or out of shape you are? A result of your habits. How happy or unhappy you are? A result of your habits. How successful or unsuccessful you are? A result of your habits.
What you repeatedly do (i.e. what you spend time thinking about and doing each day) ultimately forms the person you are, the things you believe, and the personality that you portray. Everything I write about – from procrastination and productivity to strength and nutrition – starts with better habits. When you learn to transform your habits, you can transform your life.
This page includes recommended resources on forming better habits and breaking bad ones in any area of life, but if you'd like to explore information on specific types of habits, check out these articles:
- Healthy Eating: The Beginner’s Guide on How to Eat Healthy and Stick to It
- Procrastination: A Scientific Guide on How to Stop Procrastinating
- Focus: The Ultimate Guide on How to Improve Focus and Concentration
3 Ways to Form Better Habits
- How to Build a New Habit: This is Your Strategy Guide: Read this guide right now to learn 5 easy, powerful strategies for changing habits.
- The 3 R’s of Habit Change: How To Start New Habits That Actually Stick: Every habit you have — good or bad — follows the same 3–step pattern: Reminder (the trigger that initiates the behavior), routine (the behavior itself; the action you take), and reward (the benefit you gain from doing the behavior). This helpful framework can make it easier to stick to new habits so that you can improve your health, your work, and your life in general.
- Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals This Year: Most of the time we set our goals in the wrong way. Read this article to learn how identity-based habits can help you achieve your goals more easily.
3 Ways to Break Bad Habits
- How to Break a Bad Habit and Replace It With a Good One: Want to learn how to break a bad habit? Read this article to discover the science of breaking bad habits and practical suggestions for making it happen.
- How Vietnam War Veterans Broke Their Heroin Addictions: By simply removing yourself from an environment that triggers all of your old habits, you can make it easier to break bad habits and build new ones.
- How to Declutter Your Mind and Unleash Your Willpower by Using “Bright-Line” Rules: A bright-line rule refers to a clearly defined rule or standard. It is a rule with clear interpretation and very little wiggle room. It establishes a bright line for what the rule is saying and what it is not saying. Most of us could benefit from setting brighter lines in our personal and professional lives.
How to Make a Habit Stick
- How to Stick to Your Goals When Life Gets Crazy: Having a bad day is just one of the tiny emergencies that prevents most people from sticking to their goals and habits. It doesn't have to be that way, though.
- How to Stick With Good Habits Every Day by Using the “Paper Clip Strategy”: Why do some good habits stick while others fail? Read this article about a strategy you use to stick with good habits every day.
How to Build Habits That Last and Design Life as You Want It
Want to learn everything you need to build better habits and break bad ones? I recommend the Habits Academy.
The Habits Academy is the world's most comprehensive course on habits and the science of human behavior. More than 5,000 students have taken the course. Over 40 video lessons are available to Habits Academy students.
Best Habits Books
- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
- Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey
- Hooked by Nir Eyal
- The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
All Habits Articles
This is a complete list of articles I have written on habits. Enjoy!
- The 1 Percent Rule: Why a Few People Get Most of the Rewards
- The Paradox of Behavior Change
- How Innovative Ideas Arise
- How to Create a Chain Reaction of Good Habits
- The Scientific Argument for Mastering One Thing at a Time
- Motivation is Overvalued. Environment Often Matters More.
- How to Use Military Strategy to Build Better Habits
- Free Download: Transform Your Habits (3rd Edition)
- The Chemistry of Building Better Habits
- How to Stop Lying to Ourselves: A Call for Self-Awareness
- The Proven, Reasonable and Totally Unsexy Secret to Success
- How to Stop Procrastinating and Boost Your Willpower by Using “Temptation Bundling”
- How to Fall in Love With Boredom and Unlock Your Mental Toughness
- How to Optimize Your Daily Decisions
- How to Declutter Your Mind and Unleash Your Willpower by Using “Bright-Line” Rules
- How to Stick With Good Habits Every Day by Using the “Paper Clip Strategy”
- Use This Simple Daily Habit to Add More Gratitude to Your Life
- The One Word That Drives Senseless and Irrational Habits
- The 5 Triggers That Make New Habits Stick
- Why Stores Place Candy by the Checkout Counter (And Why New Habits Fail)
- 5 Common Mistakes That Cause New Habits to Fail
- Avoid the Second Mistake
- Minimalism, Success, and the Curious Writing Habit of George R.R. Martin
- 4 Reasonable Ways to Achieve Overnight Success
- 3 Simple Ways to Make Exercise a Habit
- How to Build Muscle: Strength Lessons from Milo of Croton
- This Simple Equation Reveals How Habits Shape Your Health, Happiness, and Wealth
- How Vietnam War Veterans Broke Their Heroin Addictions
- How to Build New Habits by Taking Advantage of Old Ones
- How to Build a New Habit: This is Your Strategy Guide
- How to Be Motivated Every Day: Lessons Learned from Twyla Tharp
- Masters of Habit: The Wisdom and Writing of Maya Angelou
- How to Change the Habits of 107,000 People
- Plan For Failure: Being Consistent Is Not the Same as Being Perfect
- How the World Around You Shapes Your Thoughts and Actions
- Masters of Habit: The Deliberate Practice and Training of Jerry Rice
- How to Change Your Beliefs and Stick to Your Goals for Good
- I’m Using These 3 Simple Steps to Actually Stick with Good Habits
- How Long Does it Actually Take to Form a New Habit? (Backed by Science)
- Masters of Habit: Rituals, Lessons, and Quotes from Marcus Aurelius
- Rome Wasn't Built in a Day, But They Were Laying Bricks Every Hour
- How to Stick With Good Habits Even When Your Willpower is Gone
- Why Trying to Be Perfect Won’t Help You Achieve Your Goals (And What Will)
- Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.
- Do the Painful Things First
- 3 Simple Things You Can Do Right Now to Build Better Habits
- How Willpower Works: How to Avoid Bad Decisions
- How to Stick to Your Goals When Life Gets Crazy
- How to Stay Focused When You Get Bored Working Toward Your Goals
- What to Do When You Want to Build Better Habits But Can't Get Started
- The Crime Your Brain Commits Against You
- The Daily Routines of 12 Famous Writers
- How to Stop Procrastinating on Your Goals by Using the “Seinfeld Strategy”
- How to Improve Your Health and Productivity Without Thinking
- You Get 25,000 Mornings as an Adult: Here are 8 Ways to Not Waste Them
- What is Your “Average Speed” in Your Life, Your Health, and Your Work?
- Achieve Your Goals: Research Reveals a Simple Trick That Doubles Your Chances for Success
- How to Break a Bad Habit and Replace It With a Good One
- Get Back on Track: 7 Strategies to Help You Bounce Back After Slipping Up
- How to Say No, Resist Temptation, and Stick to Your Health Goals
- How to Get Motivated When You Don't Feel Like It
- How to Achieve Your Goals Easily
- The 3 R's of Habit Change: How To Start New Habits That Actually Stick
- 5 Simple Ways to Be Happy
- How to Stick to Little Healthy Habits (Like Flossing) Without Thinking
- Why is it So Hard to Stick to Good Habits?
- The Difference Between Professionals and Amateurs
- Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals This Year
- Keystone Habits: The Simple Way to Improve All Aspects of Your Life
- Feeling Fat? Use These 2 Easy Ways to Lose Weight