Listening to Audiobooks is one of my favourite things I do every time I lace up for a run. I love self-development books and I find in them a comfortable refuge from my academic work. In fact, self development books remind me that reading is a highly enjoyable activity, one that is substantially different from reading academic journal articles and research papers.

Yesterday, I finished listening to James Clear’s blockbuster ‘Atomic Habits‘ and it was such an incredible learning experience. The kind of habits we develop, that is,  those regular tiny activities we do on everyday basis, are the key to our success in life. According to Clear, there are three types of habits: outcome-based habits, process-based habits, and identity-based habits. The latter, identity habits, is what makes us who we are.

While outcome and process-based habits tend to diminish as we realize our goals, identity-based habits stick with us long enough to transform our life. Clear gave the example of running and argued that if you train only in order to run a marathon or a race, chances are once the race is over and the goal is attained, you may bounce back to where you were (fitness wise) before the start of your training; but if you take running as part of the ‘new’ identity you want to construct (e.g., a fit individual) and you identify with it, it (running) becomes an embodiment of who you are and will forever shape your outlook on the world. Clear goes on to provide several other relevant examples of how identity-based habits can tremendously transform our life.

As I finished listening to Clear’s book it dawned on me to compile the list below and share with you some other great habit building books.Whether making successful new year resolutions or embarking on a new project, tiny habits are your foundation. 

1- Atomic Habits, by James Clear

“No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving–every day. James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.”

2- Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results, by Stephen Guise

“A mini habit is a very small positive behavior that you force yourself to do every day; its “too small to fail” nature makes it weightless, deceptively powerful, and a superior habit-building strategy. You will have no choice but to believe in yourself when you’re always moving forward. The barrier to the first step is so low that even depressed or “stuck” people can find early success and begin to reverse their lives right away. And if you think one push-up a day is too small to matter, I’ve got one heck of a story for you!”

3- Habit Stacking, by S.J. Scott (Author), Jonathan Green (Foreword)

“We all know it’s not easy to add dozens of new habits to your day. But what you might not realize is it’s fairly easy to build a single new routine. The essence of habit stacking is to take a series of small changes (like eating a piece of fruit or sending a loving text message to your significant other) and build a ritual that you follow on a daily basis. 

Habit stacking works because you eliminate the stress of trying to change too many things at once. Your goal is to simply focus on a single routine that only takes about 15 to 30 minutes to complete. Within this routine is a series of actions (or small changes). All you have to do is to create a checklist and follow it every single day. That’s the essence of habit stacking.”

4- The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg

“In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes readers inside labs where brain scans record habits as they flourish and die; classrooms in which students learn to boost their willpower; and boardrooms where executives dream up products that tug on our deepest habitual urges. 

Full of compelling narratives that will appeal to fans of Michael Lewis, Jonah Lehrer, and Chip and Dan Heath, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: our most basic actions are not the product of well-considered decision making, but of habits we often do not realize exist. By harnessing this new science, we can transform our lives.”

5. The Habit Blueprint by Patrik Edblad

“The Habit Blueprint is the definite step-by-step guide to putting any habit into place — and keep it there. In this book you will learn:
The neurological loop that drives your habit (and how to make it work for you)How a small mindset shift can dramatically increase your chances of successHow to create positive effects across all areas of your life with just one “keystone habit”How to make daily progress even if you’re tired or pressed for timeHow to get yourself hooked on your habitA simple strategy to make you to 2x to 3x more likely to follow through every dayHow to set up a ”token economy” to reinforce your habitHow to continually review and readjust your approach…”

6. Better Than Before, by Gretchen Rubin

“In Better Than Before, acclaimed writer Gretchen Rubin identifies every approach that actually works. She presents a practical, concrete framework to allow readers to understand their habits—and to change them for good. Infused with Rubin’s compelling voice, rigorous research, and easy humor, and packed with vivid stories of lives transformed, Better Than Before explains the (sometimes counterintuitive) core principles of habit formation and answers the most perplexing questions about habits.”

7. The Achievement Habit, by Bernard Roth

“In The Achievement Habit, Roth applies the remarkable insights that stem from design thinking—previously used to solve large scale projects—to help us realize the power for positive change we all have within us. Roth leads us through a series of discussions, stories, recommendations, and exercises designed to help us create a different experience in our lives. He shares invaluable insights we can use to gain confidence to do what we’ve always wanted and overcome obstacles that hamper us from reaching our potential.”

8. The Now Habit, by Neil Fiore

“The Now Habit offers a comprehensive plan to help readers lower their stress and increase their time to enjoy guilt-free play. Dr. Fiore’s techniques will help any busy person start tasks sooner and accomplish them more quickly, without the anxiety brought on by the negative habits of procrastination and perfectionism.”