“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
The way your life plays out is guided by thousands of habits that make most of your decisions for you. Understanding how those habits work and how to change them is essential. Here are some of my best articles on habits, divided into subtopics.
The 5 Best Articles
I’ve written hundreds of articles that touch on habits, but if you’re not sure where to start, here are the best five:
- Habitual Mastery – My initial series that started my writing on habits. This was my first-ever article that got popular attention, the advice coming from a time in my life when I was aggressively exploring habit change as a tool for life.
- Nine Habits to Increase Your Energy – Feeling sluggish? Here are nine habits to try.
- Why is it So Hard to Build Permanent Habits – Most habits are meta-stable, meaning they can persist, but are vulnerable to external forces.
- How to Build Habits of Moderation – All-or-nothing is a lot easier than a little bit, because small temptations snowball into major vices. Here’s how to keep a little of what you like without going overboard.
- How Important is Growth – Rethinking the idea that all goals and habits should progress to be useful.
How to Change Habits
My book, How to Change a Habit, covers the approach I used for changing many habits early in my process of self-improvement. I still consider it one of the best guides I’ve written on the subject.
In addition to my book, here are some useful free articles that can help you out:
- Habitual Mastery (series) – A five-part exploration of the process I use to change habits and how you can think about it yourself.
- Habit Stacking: How to Keep Up with Everything When You Don’t Have Time
- Three Strategies for Behavior Change – Three broad ways to look at how to change your life.
- Three Ways to Fix a Stubborn Habit
- Nine Tips for Restarting a Habit After Falling Off the Wagon – Resetting habits, not just making them for the first time, is an important part of the process. Here’s how to do it well.
- How to Keep Bad Habits from Ruling Your Life
Advice for Specific Habits
Stuck with a stubborn habit? Here are some articles I’ve written on tackling more specific habit challenges and how I’ve overcome them:
- The Six Morning Routines that Will Make You Happier, Healthier and More Productive – How you start your day matters a lot, here’s six ideas on how to start it better.
- and why you should Build Your Morning Habits First.
- Some Thoughts on Meditation – My ideas about setting (and failing) at regular meditation habits and some different things I’ve tried.
- How to Build the Habit of Finishing What You Start
- How to Read 70+ Books in a Year – The strategies that let me do it.
- 10 Steps to Cultivate the Now Habit
- 10 Habits to Boost Your Happiness
More Thoughts on Habits
In addition to advice, I’ve written a lot about the ideas that surround habits. Are they always good? What’s the right way to think about your habits? These articles explore some of my broader thinking on the topic:
- Do You Have Habits, or Just Commitments? – Habits aren’t merely things you do often, but things you do without much conscious effort. I draw a distinction here that can help you determine why some habits persist for years, while others require constant effort.
- The Hidden Connection Between Habits and Learning – The two are more similar than you might think!
- Multiply or Add – Does your effort stack, or does it compound? The difference can be huge in the long-run.
- First, See the Circle – Loops dominate our lives, but do you see yours?
- Should You Do Intense, Short-Term Projects, or Build Long-Term Habits?
- Choose: Growth or Consistency – You may not easily get to do both.
- Do Habits Help or Hurt You Learn?
- Step One is Showing Up – Simply showing up, every day, is often enough.
- The First Step and the Thousandth
- Know Your Burn Rate and Why it Sabotages You Before You Even Begin – A useful concept from startups, applied to life.