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7 Best Books About Habits That Will Help You Change Your Life

Looking for a way to break bad habits, live more efficiently, and improve your overall well-being? See this list of the best books that will help you build good habits.


With each new year comes the urge to start fresh with a new routine that helps you work toward your personal goals. From changing your workout routine to choosing a healthier diet, setting habits that cater to your mental and physical health can make a huge difference in how you think, feel, and act.

Everyone has both bad and good habits that contribute to their ability to accomplish tasks and maintain performance. However, the key to improving your well-being often lies in breaking away from bad habits to emerge with tendencies that benefit your personal life and career. In time, you will find yourself procrastinating less and implementing practices that increase your overall productivity.

The new year may have you scrambling to build yourself up to new lengths, but reading books about habits can help you pinpoint which practices are already working and which need changing. If you need some insight into the benefits of routine and change, look at this list of some of the best books on building better habits to achieve a more rewarding lifestyle.

Key points:

  • Building and maintaining good habits is essential to leading a healthy life. Habits keep you productive by encouraging you to continuously perform behaviors beneficial to your mental and physical health.

  • Books can introduce you to many habit-building methods to boost creativity, beat procrastination, and perform more efficiently at work. Some of the best habit books include The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and The Now Habit by Neil Fiore.

  • Amid a busy career or lifestyle, it can be easy to fall off track with your visions and dreams. Fortunately, the Headway app can help you build better habits and hold you accountable by tracking your progress on your learning goals.

Top 7 books that will help you change habits

Good habits can’t be built overnight, but consistency in your actions is essential to achieving long-term change. If you’re looking to improve your lifestyle by following through and implementing rewarding routines, here are some of the best books for introducing positive habits into your life.

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

New York Times bestseller Better Than Before presents an award-winning philosophy on achieving growth through daily habit construction and maintenance. Building upon revolutionary concepts, Gretchen Rubin takes readers on a journey of self-discovery and forming habits that contribute to their overall well-being. Rubin, therefore, teaches the premise of change through several methods of transformation — at the base of which lies a heavy commitment.

Rubin eloquently describes the path to personal fulfillment as taking control of your negative habits and forming a long-term dedication to change them. In this undertaking, people should have someone to hold them accountable for their mistakes and motivate them to carry out positive habits. This will create leeway for people to pursue healthy habits that benefit their personal lives, starting at the best time possible: immediately. 

In this book, Rubin encourages readers to pay attention to their ‘tendencies’ as they get a better understanding of themselves and what they want out of life. Using the Four Tendencies framework, Rubin shows how to shape your future habits and build unique routines based on which category you fall into. As such, readers can gain a clearer sense of self and build willpower to achieve their goals and desires. 

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Everyone has parts of themselves they would like to change, from how they eat and interact with family members to when they go to bed. Rather than judging yourself harshly for your less revered qualities, Charles Duhigg suggests a way to establish long-term commitment toward changing your habits from bad to good — by protecting your freedom and your ability to make choices for yourself. As such, positive habits built out of autonomy use less willpower and are easier to accomplish.

The Power of Habit gives you the rundown of everything surrounding habits — why they exist, what they can do, and how you can change them for the better. With this idea, it’s easy to understand the book’s main premise: habits run on willpower and are the basis of success in society, relationships, and careers. Duhigg views habits as a biological mechanism of survival. They help to conserve energy which, in turn, allows you to complete tasks quicker and more efficiently. Therefore, carrying out these positive habits is key to achieving the life you want.

Duhigg’s idea of habits works along a three-pronged loop: cue, routine, and reward. The cue triggers you to form the habit, the routine is the behavior, and the reward is what you receive from the habit. When this process is followed over a long-term period, it will allow you to maintain good practices such as exercise, hygiene, and healthy eating as part of a rewarding lifestyle. Combining scientific research with personal experiences, this is a must-read for anyone looking to learn the principles of building stronger habits for their overall benefit.

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything by BJ Fogg

Tiny Habits is packed with insightful information on how to incorporate small changes into your daily routine to achieve powerful results. As Fogg proclaims, this can be done by forgoing the need for motivation to achieve our goals and successes. Instead, he comes forth with a new approach: creating lasting change, little by little, with tiny efforts. By starting with seemingly minuscule habits, Fogg suggests that people can slowly begin to find themselves reaching new plateaus in their personal lives. 

In this book, Fogg encourages readers to follow a three-step formula that is designed to help them build tiny habits for positive change. First, you should find an ‘Anchor Moment’ that will prompt you to carry out your chosen habit. After this, focus on performing an easy, small action that you plan to work on — such as doing one jumping jack alone to build up toward a goal of 200 jumping jacks. When this is complete, congratulate and reward yourself in order to associate this behavior with positive emotions. The simplicity and benefit of performing the habit will make it more likely for you to maintain these behaviors.

As for breaking bad habits, Fogg also illustrates his perception of behavior with what he calls the Fogg Behavioral Model. In his eyes, a behavior is formed when three elements merge together — motivation, ability, and a prompt. By removing the prompt, Fogg alleges that you will be able to let go of the negative behavior much easier. For example, breaking a junk-food habit will be much easier when there is no junk food in the house. With one small step at a time, readers can therefore gain insight into valuable methods that help them change their lives for the better.

The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play by Neil Fiore

Many people struggle with keeping up with their goals and commitments due to an overload of procrastination and laziness. Fortunately, The Now Habit presents an interesting perspective on how to stay motivated to maintain good habits. Neil Fiore provides several insights into his theory of why humans procrastinate so much, including the fear of failure and being unable to meet expectations. 

In this book, Fiore teaches how to combat procrastination and increase productivity to achieve enhanced performance in your career and personal life. By learning how to say no and taking control of your behaviors and decisions, Fiore proposes that you can lessen the urge to procrastinate and switch over to a high-productivity mindset. As a result, you can enjoy play and relaxation completely guilt-free.

As a world-renowned psychologist known for his specialization in performance in productivity, Fiore guides readers through the psychology of anxiety and procrastination. In understanding the reasons behind their worries and hesitation, readers can begin to find ways of overcoming their fears, redirecting their thoughts, and committing to change. For people who feel stuck in their journeys toward success, this book is a must-read.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Dan Heath

Change is an inevitable part of life, yet many people still struggle to adjust to huge life milestones and new routines. In Switch, Dan Heath offers a unique approach to forming habits by focusing on making effective changes to their daily tendencies. This can be done by highlighting progress, accepting shortcomings, and viewing change, both positive and negative, as a certain reality.

Heath uses clever metaphors to describe two independent brain processes: the Elephant, which is the emotional side, and the Rider, or the rational side. In Heath’s perspective, change can only occur when both the Elephant and the Rider work together in harmony to invoke positive change in any given situation. By directing the rider and motivating the elephant, both parties can be satisfied enough to tweak the surrounding environment to house better habits and a healthier mentality.

From this book, readers can gain the necessary tools to switch over to a growth mindset that supports every part of the development process. This includes acknowledging the inevitability of failure, congratulating yourself when success does happen, and taking steps to overcome tribulations. In all, Heath aims to redesign the way you view changes by taking small advancements toward big changes.

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

One of the most genius habits to undertake is the art of living in the present moment. Eckhart Tolle is known especially for his insightful works regarding spirituality and unlocking the inner power that everyone holds inside themselves. In this book, Tolle takes readers on another journey of uncovering secrets of the mind — starting with religion. As long as you expect religion to solve everything negative in life, Tolle explains, then you’ll never truly be at peace with yourself or others.

Tolle uses an interesting metaphor to introduce a method of living in the present moment. Carrying things longer than you need to can cause you to feel resentment, shame, and regret for circumstances that cannot be changed. As the revolutionary self-help author puts it, humans should strive to be like a duck. Ducks, after an altercation with another duck, immediately swim away from the scene without another thought. As such, adopting the habit of thinking like a duck can help you release those unpleasant feelings you carry around with you.

A renowned book about habits and spirituality, A New Earth comes with a revolutionary perspective on the way people think and some of the most pressing issues that humanity faces today. Readers can gain valuable wisdom from various tidbits of spiritual guidance as they learn ways to reap more enjoyment out of their lives. In experiencing this consistent joy, enlightenment can be more easily achieved.

The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav

The Seat of the Soul is a unique blend of science and spirituality that readers can use as a guidebook alongside their personal journey of building good habits. Known as one of the pioneers of the New Age Movement, Gary Zukav creates a fascinating argument that reality can be shifted and manipulated with the mind. As the mind becomes more powerful with spiritual tools, the soul also evolves to allow for more meaningful interactions with the world.

With the goal of helping readers achieve spiritual growth, Zukav provides a meaningful approach to evolution that focuses on the metaphysical. In his view, humans are slowly evolving beyond the material realm to hold a higher spiritual capacity. As people move away from negative qualities and toward a deeper intuition, they will be able to perceive and understand things beyond physical matter, and judgment and violence will cease to exist.

Zukav stresses the fact that everyone is on their own path and timeline, as well as the idea that each individual soul can evolve in due time. Ultimately, readers can become more attuned to their inner selves and develop a deeper understanding of what it means to be human, both physically and spiritually.

Read more habit books with Headway

Self-help books can be considered a foundational stepping stone for people toward achieving their ideal selves. In this case, one of the best books for achieving your goals can be a habits book that gives you valuable insight into how you can change your daily routines for the better. However, people with busy lifestyles may often find it difficult to maintain positive habits and stay on track with their aspirations.

Headway can be a perfect solution for busy individuals looking to improve their lifestyle with book summaries that teach the fundamentals of building better habits. This bite-sized learning app allows you to track your reading progress and continue being productive while on the go. Use Headway to read or listen to habit book summaries while managing other responsibilities — and increase your productivity tenfold! 

Are you looking for a way to build good habits and experience a more well-rounded lifestyle? Can’t decide which habit book is best for you? Download the Headway app to gain unlimited access to 15-minute book summaries on your favorite books on habits.


How can books help me build better habits?

The act of reading a book can be considered a good habit in itself, but it’s the contents of the book that truly matter. For instance, self-help books can provide you with the necessary strategies and methods to come up with ways to improve your mental, physical and emotional well-being. The more books about habits that you read, the more you will become accustomed to the way habits work, and it will be easier to break away from negative habits to build positive ones.

What is the best book on habits?

The best book for changing habits will vary according to what type of habit you are looking to build or change. For instance, many books are designed to help you build habits of productivity and motivation, while others focus on helping you prioritize self-care habits. In this case, it is important to choose a book that will guide you toward your desired outcome and help you achieve your personal goals.

Why is habit-building important?

Habits in themselves are an important part of self-growth. They allow you to make the most out of any situation or environment and maintain behaviors that benefit your mental and physical health. For instance, building good fitness habits might involve creating a daily workout routine to follow. Over time, this routine can become a habit that builds motivation, encourages self-care, and reinforce your overall progress. As a result, you’ll be able to see changes in other areas of your life, such as better sleep, higher career performance, and more positive interactions with other people.

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