The Habits Guide: How to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones

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The Habits Guide: How to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones

Before we get into the guide, I want to recommend the most comprehensive guide on how to change your habits and get 1% better every day: My new book Atomic Habits

Packed with evidence-based self-improvement strategies, Atomic Habits will teach you how to make the small changes that will transform your habits and deliver remarkable results.

Atomic Habits will reshape the way you think about progress and success and give you the tools and strategies you need to transform your habits—whether you are a team looking to win a championship, an organization hoping to redefine an industry, or simply an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, and achieve success that lasts.

Want to get Chapter 1 of Atomic Habits for free? Just enter your email address below.


Let’s get to the habits guide…

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:

3 Ways to Form Better Habits

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 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.

Learn more about The Habits Academy.

 Best Habits Books

Want more great books on psychology and self-help? Browse my full list of the best psychology books and best self-help books.

All Habits Articles

This is a complete list of articles I have written on habits. Enjoy!

Best Articles on Topics Related to Habits

Or, browse my best articles.

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