We are creatures, and no matter how good looking or more sophisticated we may seem compared to other animals, we are still creatures of habit. Some work for us while others work against us. You may never realize just how strong your habits are until you try to break or change them.
These five books can help you conquer your habits and also help you develop new ones;
1. Atomic Habits By James Clear
Are you currently struggling to change your habits? You may not be the problem, at least not according to James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits.
Since bad habits tend to repeat themselves, they form tough chords that sometimes seem almost impossible to break. Of course, we often blame ourselves and our inability to change. But this book presents an interesting approach; the problem isn’t you. It is your system that is at fault.
The very fact that you have the wrong system for change means that you can’t rise to the level of your goals. You’ll always fall to the level of your system. The book presents a tried and tested system that will produce expected results.
Sounds unbelievable? The book features inspiring stories of people who have used the science of small habits. They include sports personalities, award-winning artists, entertainment personalities and even business leaders. James Clear draws on solid, proven ideas from neuroscience, psychology and even biology.
James Clear whittles down the idea of his book by pointing out that self-improvement can also be approached using basic math. If you were to commit to a 1% improvement every day, you’d be 37 times better by the end of the year.
2. The Power Of Habit By Charles Duhigg
There are many books written about habits but this one stands out in that, it explains how habits are formed, how to kick out the bad ones, and how to hang onto the good ones, all within the same text.
As you leaf through the pages of this book, you will learn how some people, perhaps even yourself, struggle to make meaningful changes even after years of effort while others seem to transform themselves overnight.
Charles Duhigg teaches the science behind how we form our habits, how they function, and how we can modify them, and how they influence our personal and corporate lives. The book is divided into three sections; The Habits of Individuals, The Habits of Successful Organizations, and The Habits of Societies.
The book illustrates the structure of a habit, which is made up of three parts; the trigger, the routine, and the reward. All these parts work together to form a pattern, what behavioral scientists call ‘a habit loop.’ Having a habit loop essentially means your brain no longer participates in decision making. As far as that action is concerned, your brain stops working so hard and diverts to other tasks.
The Power of Habits has one central (and compelling) argument; the key to making lasting and meaningful habit changes is understanding how habits work.
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3. The Compound Effect By Darren Hardy
The idea behind this book is quite simple, but far from simplistic; slow and steady wins the race. This is not completely a novel idea, but the manner in which the book presents this idea is startlingly original.
Daren Hardy essentially reminds us how even the most ridiculously tiny changes, if applied with consistency, can produce enormous effects over time. And it does not matter whether you believe it or not, the compound effect will work on you either way. You’ll have to decide if you are going to let it work for you or against you.
We live in anxious times and in a culture fraught with hacks, quick fixes and shortcuts. But in reality, there are no real magic pills, magic bullets, or even any secrets. Only long-term consistency works. This book takes this approach, similar to the famous ‘Butterfly Effect.’ Small changes, akin to a butterfly flapping its wings, can have far reaching effects over the long term.
The Compound Effect counsels that, though not immediately noticeable, it is the small, everyday decisions that result in a fundamental change over time. Darren Hardy provides plenty of illustrations on the principle, demonstrating the effect of the tiny decisions on the grand scheme of things.
4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was published back in 1990. It was a groundbreaking book which featured powerful lessons in personal change. Its central message was that, true and lasting success requires a balance of personal and professional effectiveness. Therefore, the book is essentially a manual for success in both areas. It is loaded with practical anecdotes from family situations as well as corporate challenges.
The Seven Habits are;
- Be Proactive
- Begin with the End in Mind
- Put First Things First
- Think Win-Win
- Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
- Sharpen the Saw
The book contains many wonderful anecdotes on how to create the change we desire in our lives. In relation to habits, Stephen Covey contrasts The Personality Ethic with The Character Ethic. Simply changing our outward behavior (personality ethic) is not effective and will not yield lasting results if there are no fundamental changes in our core paradigms (character ethic) which shape our perspectives.
Even if we do nothing about it, we are all concerned about our effectiveness. The book takes an “inside-out” approach, which means that change begins from the inside. This may seem a little odd, considering our insistence on addressing effectiveness issues by working on our external behavior.
5. The Miracle Morning By Hal Elrod
Picking up this book and leafing through its pages might trigger an instinct that you ought to protect your mornings. Even if you are not quite a morning person, this book will inspire you get the most out of your mornings.
The Miracle Morning is based on a 6-step routine, all of which you can practice for an hour (10 minutes each). It uses the acronym SAVERS to illustrate the 6 steps.
- Silence: Enjoy a peaceful, unhurried morning in prayer, meditation or reflection
- Affirmations: Positive affirmations that will empower, energize, and help you stay focused
- Visualization: Using your imagination to create a vivid picture of your goals, desires, and ideal life
- Exercise: A quick morning workout to boost your overall health
- Reading: Reading something that will improve your personal development
- Scribbling: keeping a daily journal and noting down your thoughts, which will help bring clarity.
How you spend your mornings can have major impact on your life, more than you could possibly imagine. The Miracle Morning condenses all the advice you may have already heard into 6 actionable steps. And the best part of it is that it works!
To Your Success,
Jairek Robbins and Team PCU
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