Best Books that Will Help You Form New Habits
You wanted to start a reading habit, but you never get the free time to read your books.
You tried to exercise regularly and eat more healthy, but you are always unmotivated to do so.
Each year, you set new year resolution for yourself. But by the end of January, you find yourself procrastinating and nowhere close to achieving your goals.
Do you find it difficult to get rid of your old, unhealthy habits and form new ones?
Habit formation is challenging because habits are formed by the brain. It’s difficult to change your behaviors without first understanding how the brain works.
Below are 10 books on changing habits. Find a book that best suits you.
10 Best Books on Habits Building, Changing and Forming
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1. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Before you change or form new habits, you must first understand how habits work and this is the book for that.
Written by a reporter for The New York Times, the author uses both scientific research and personal stories to explain what habits are and how they get wired into our brains.
By understanding the habit loop (cue, routine and reward), we can change our bad habits into good habits. At the end of the book, the author also shares his own example on how he kicked his cookie-eating bad habit.
The book is divided into three main parts: The Habits of Individuals, The Habits of Successful Organizations, The Habit of Societies. So you get to understand how habits influence our lives in many different areas.
If you are someone who loves to read interesting anecdotes that inspire you to change, this is definitely the habit book for you.
2. Atomic Habits by James Clear
One of the most popular and bestselling books on habit, this book provides a practical framework to help you to build good habits and break bad ones.
Many people get discouraged or self-critical when they can’t change their habits. Written by one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, the author shows you that you are not the problem. The problem is your system.
When we change, most of us focus on the outcomes and processes. But changing our habits is difficult when we do not change our identity first. For example, if you keep seeing yourself as a smoker, then it will be difficult for you to quit smoking.
If you are looking for an easy and practical way to build new habits or change your habits, this is the book for you.
3. Mini Habits by Stephen Guise
No matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to find the motivation to do the things you love. Or do you have resolutions each year that you never get started?
If this is so, read this book because the author shares an innovative way to get started. Instead of having an audacious big goal that overwhelms you, the author suggests being committed to a small habit that is so small, it’s impossible to fail.
For most of us, after we cross the first barrier of getting started, we find it easier to do more. For example, the author shares how his one push-up strategy got him to complete a full workout.
If you are someone who wants to make positive changes in your life but doesn’t know how to start, this is the book for you.
4. Habit Stacking by S.J. Scott
It’s not easy to add multiple habits into your day. You focus on your career, but you neglect your health. You focus on your health, but you neglect your relationship.
This book is about building a routine of small habits, also known as “Habit Stack” by the author. Each habit stack takes only 15 to 30 minutes to complete, but it can cover many different aspects of your life.
Inside the book, the author provides 127 small habits that you can pick and choose to build your own habit stack. These habits are grouped into seven categories — career, finance, health, leisure, organizing, relationship, and spirituality.
This book is suitable for people who need a concise step-by-step guide to help them implement their habits. If you find it difficult to incorporate new habits into your life, read this book.
5. The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
Not a morning person? If you have trouble waking up early or are skeptical about the benefits of doing so, this is the book for you.
The author wasn’t a morning person previously too. But he soon discovered the importance of waking up early. Written by an inspiring guy who survived a near-death accident, his stories of how The Miracle Morning originated and how it transformed his life, will inspire you to change.
In this book, the author also provides a powerful 6-steps routine called the Life S.A.V.E.R.S that can be done in 60 minutes or even 6 minutes. So this book is perfect for busy, successful people too.
But if you are someone who is tired of living a mediocre life, this book is suitable for you too. It will transform your mornings and your life.
6. Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Forming new habits require you to change, but are you struggling to change? If so, this is the book to read.
In this book, the authors explain why change is so hard and how to make changes through understanding our brains. Our rational and emotional minds are always competing for control. Change and creating new habits are challenging when the tension between these two minds are not resolved.
Even though this is a business book, it has a wide variety of examples ranging from personal, corporate to social change. If you are someone who loves reading stories and learning through case studies, this book is perfect for you.
7. Making Habits, Breaking Habits by Jeremy Dean
Do you know why a seemingly easy habit such as eating an apple a day is so difficult to form?
This book will tell you why it’s so challenging for us to maintain good habits and break bad habits. Written by a psychologist, the author explains the anatomy of habits using extensive studies and research. But he also does a great job in making his research practical and actionable for his readers.
According to the author, habits aren’t just repetitive actions; they can also be repetitive thoughts. Not only does this book help you improve your life and make lasting changes, it’s also suitable for someone who is curious about human behavior and the psychology behind habits.
8. Sticky Habits by Barrie Davenport
“Everything you want to achieve, every dream or long-term goal, can be broken down into a series of habits.”
If you are someone who struggles to accomplish your goals, this is the book for you. Written by a certified Life Coach, this book is a step-by-step blueprint to help you create new habits and reach your goals.
Not only does it help you choose new habits to create, it also suggests some habits that you should avoid at first because they have a high probability of failure. Included in this book are also the Habit Planning Worksheet and the Daily Habit Report Form that help you map out your habits and keep track of them.
So get this book if you feel overwhelmed with your goals and find it hard to follow through your habits.
9. 30 Days – Change Your Habits, Change Your Life by Marc Reklau
Why do some people seem to get everything easily and others don’t?
The author believes that you can make good habits within 30 days by taking a couple of simple steps each day consistently.
Written by a coach, this book motivates you to take action and responsibility for your life. Each chapter is short and is packed with action steps, questions and exercises. This facilitates you to take action.
If you are someone who needs changes in your life, this is the book for you. But you can’t just read the book and not do anything about it. You have to do the work to get the full benefit of this book.
10. The Habit Blueprint by Patrik Edblad
Are you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with creating new habits? This book provides 15 simple steps to transform your life and make lasting habits.
Written by a certified mental trainer, the author has helped 400+ clients change their life. In this book, you will understand how you get hooked on your habits and how to use accountability to stick to your habit.
This is a very small book that is about 70 pages. You can read it within an hour. It is great for beginners who are new to habit formation and want something easy to read.
Bonus: My Book on Building the Mindfulness Habit
Note: The way I look at my books will never be the same as the way I look at other books, so to be fair I rather keep them off the list.
The Disbelief Habit by Yong Kang Chan
Can’t stop the critical voice in your head? Constantly bombarded with negative thoughts?
From an early age, many of us have this critical voice in our head which we called the inner critic. This is the voice that tells us we aren’t good enough.
Instead of overcoming our self-criticism, we make the inner critic our enemy and blame ourselves for having such self-loathing thoughts. Some of us even feel that beating ourselves up is good for us. But how is that working for you?
If you have tried many different techniques to get rid of your inner critic, but nothing seems to be effective, this is the book for you.
This book is about doubting your critical thoughts and building a mindfulness habit. You can reduce your suffering without silencing your inner critic.
Hey there, I’m Yong Kang, best known as Nerdy Creator. I’m an author of seven books. I write about spirituality, self-compassion, and mindfulness. I love reading books, especially non-fiction. The list above is a combination of what I have read and my research. Each year, I create a Top 10 list of my favorite books.