Everything we do in life comes down to one thing: habits. From making your coffee in the morning to brushing your teeth and working out, all these functions are habits. While success and living well may seem like an abstract idea, it’s not. The difference between those who succeed and those who don’t are the habits they’ve formed throughout their lives. If you want to change your life, you have to change your habits.
While this concept is simple, it’s not easy. As you probably already know, changing habits is very difficult as it involves actually breaking neurological pathways in the brain and creating new ones. However, the good news is, with effort and awareness you can actually rebuild these pathways to form healthier habits.
Here are 5 must-read books to set you on the path to changing your habits for the better and creating the life you’ve always wanted.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg
This best-selling book delves into the psyche of humans and why we do what we do. It takes examples from boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies such as Proctor & Gamble to explain why habits exist and how we can change them. The conclusion? The key to achieving anything from losing weight to financial success is learning how habits work and how to form better ones.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, by Stephen R. Covey
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is another classic that has sold over 2o million copies. It provides a step-by-step guide for living with integrity and becoming the best version of yourself. It includes 7 vital principles: Habit 1: Be Proactive. Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind. Habit 3: Put First Things First. Habit 4: Think Win/Win. Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood. Habit 6: Synergize. Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to change their habits for the better.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel H. Pink
What do you think motivates you the most in life? Money? Fame? Power? You’ll be surprised to learn, it’s none of those things. Pink delves into the truth behind what drives us and finds the secret to satisfaction and success is actually the need to find purpose and leave a positive mark on the world. Drawing from four decades of research on human motivation, Pink lays out the three primary motivators in life: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. He then offers up techniques for putting these into action.
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek
You may know Simon Sinek from his TED talk “Start With Why” which has been viewed by over 28 million people and is one of the most popular TED talks of all time. In Start With Why, Sinek asks one fundamental question: “Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others?” He takes from leaders such as Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Wright Brothers, three innovators with little in common and in entirely different industries. He finds what makes these leaders different from others is their “why” and how they operate almost completely opposite to the rest of the population. Start With Why will inspire you to create better habits and provides a solid framework on how to get exactly where you want to go.
The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It, by Kelly McGonigal
The Willpower Instinct draws on the latest research from psychology, economics, neuroscience, and medicine, to explain exactly what willpower is and how it works. You’ll learn that willpower is a mind-body response, not a virtue. Best of all, it can be improved through mindfulness, nutrition, sleep and exercise. The Willpower Instinct shows us how temptation and stress can hijack the brain’s ability to control one’s impulses and how willpower failures are contagious. In other words, surround yourself with the right people. This life-changing book provides framework to help you gain better self-control, so you can live a healthier, more optimal life.