The problem with bad habits is they’re not easy to shake off. Ask the smoker, the overeater, the couch potato, or the social media addict. Bad habits can also be attitudes – negativism, procrastination, envy, etc. We all know that these types of behaviors can strain if not outright destroy relationships, at work and in the home.
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If you have bad habits you want to overcome, reading these books will provide you with tips and step-by-step guides on how to break bad habits.
How to Break Bad Habits: These Books Will Help
1. Rewire: Change Your Brain to Break Bad Habits, Overcome Addictions, Conquer Self-Destructive Behavior
In Rewire, the reader learns about the two brains, the cognitive and practical brain and the brain that runs on autopilot, making decisions without proper thought. The latter is responsible for the bad habits that are self-destructive behavior, such as procrastination, excessive worrying, addiction, risk-taking, etc.
Richard O’Connor, the author, has come up with a handbook for rewiring the brain so that the automatic brain is trained to wiser and refrain from responding with harmful reflexes. The conscious brain, freed from distractions, learns about compassion, mindfulness, and self-discipline. Lasting results lead to more productive lives and kinder hearts.
2. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
Despite the book’s seemingly frivolous title, it has powerful content that deviates from the conventional. Mark Manson shoots down the age-old belief that a positive attitude is a panacea for all of life’s challenges. He doesn’t support the idea of pursuing that ever-elusive perfectly awesome life and tells the reader to get real about what values are important to them, what matters, and what is meaningful in their lives. It’s not giving a f*ck about what they don’t have and being happy with what they do have.
3. Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results
Mini habits, in this book, are smaller versions of big habits. Smaller habits, when accomplished, have an impact that bigger habits, unacted upon, can never achieve. Mini habits are easier to do and maintain, and in their achievement, restore a person’s self-confidence and willpower.
The book’s premise is based on the theory that mini habits are too easy so that failing in them and omitting to do them is not an option. It becomes a strategy for the accomplishment of bigger habits, by time and activity. The quitters and unmotivated, and people suffering from fatigue will benefit from reading this book.
4. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
Who knew that decluttering could be a life-changing event and a global craze? Apparently, Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo does. Her best-selling book simplifies the method of tidying up into two steps: First, take everything you own. If something doesn’t spark joy in you, thank it and bid it goodbye. Second, put the things you will keep in places where they are visible and easy to grab. Sorting is done by categories, not by rooms.
The book’s advice is easy to comply with, although a bit wacky for the non-Japanese. But the end result is a tidy home that will bring calm to a busy mind.
5. The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play
Procrastination is an obstacle to achievement. In this book, Neil Fiore gives readers an insight into the reasons for procrastination and creates a practical program that will help conquer this bad habit. Procrastination is learned and is caused by the anxiety of starting a project, and the goal of perfectionism which discourages action for fear of producing substandard quality work.
From the counterintuitive technique of play first before work to eliminating the blocks that prevent action, working in the flow state and learning to focus, to refining the process through resilience. It also has a chapter for dealing with the procrastinators in your life and an update on the influence of technology in procrastination.
6. Hooked: Overcoming Social Media Addiction
Social media addiction has upset many personal and professional relationships, as shown in Chapters 1 & 2 of this book. In the succeeding chapter, the author describes the signs and symptoms of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media addiction and goes on to offer solutions to overcoming the addiction. Then he takes things a step further by showing ways to turn the bad habit of social media addiction into something productive.
7. Path of the Prophets: The Ethics-Driven Life
The author writes about the lives of eighteen prophets, their legacies and the experiences they went through – the defeats and victories – and how their values and ethics served as guides to the spiritual paths they took. Although written with the Jewish community in mind, the messages in this book are relevant and appropriate to all Christians, centering on justice, compassion, and humility.
The prophets in Barry L. Schwartz’ book are “people driven by a higher calling. At crucial moments they act on their ideas for the common good, often with disregard for their own security.” With this parameter in mind, biblical individuals such as Judah, Ruth, and Shifrah are given equal significance beside well-known prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.
8. Boundless Compassion: Creating a Way of Life
Compassion as a way of life does not come naturally to human beings, whose basic instinct is survival of the self. In her book, Joyce Rupp shares a six-week guide to developing compassion from the various disciplines, including science, spirituality, medicine, religion, and psychology. Living compassionately is demanding. It calls for an acute awareness of the hardships of others and the ability to respond in ways that will lessen their suffering.
Compassionate is a spiritual value that helps to create peaceful co-existence. By being compassionate, kindness is passed on, building a compassionate community that when multiplied, expands into a compassionate global community where people take on the responsibility of taking care of one another.
9. The Art of Good Habits: Health, Love, Presence, and Prosperity
Good habits help in achieving goals and create the path to happiness. How you approach health, love, presence, and prosperity play a significant role in your life’s contentment. Nathalie W. Hermann gives a step-by-step process to having control over one’s life and its myriad challenges using the values of honesty, willingness, awareness, and appreciation. And while these principles are applicable to the four goals, one stands out for each topic. For example, achieving good health requires honesty, love goes hand in hand with willingness, presence needs awareness, and appreciation can be turned into a habit for prosperity.
10. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life
The author gives us 27 chapters of hilarious yet thought-provoking stories and advice on how to determine goals, and get rid of negative habits and environment, including people, to live happier and more successful lives. It’s learning to distinguish self-destructive behavior, going after desires and goals with the right amount of flexibility, and not worrying about the opinions of others, especially the haters. When these are done, the reader will understand himself better, love and accept what cannot be changed, and change what cannot be loved.
This post was originally published in June 2018; updated July 2021
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