Two Best Books on Habit Building: Tiny Habits vs Atomic Habits

Insights from two leading researchers on building habits that last: dissected and reviewed.

Tiny Habits, written by BJ Fogg, goes with the tag line: The Small Changes That Change Everything. As the Goodreads blurb claims:

When it comes to change, tiny is mighty. Start with two pushups a day, not a two-hour workout; or five deep breaths each morning rather than an hour of meditation. In Tiny Habits, B.J. Fogg brings his experience coaching more than 40,000 people to help you lose weight, de-stress, sleep better, or achieve any goal of your choice. You just need Fogg’s behavior formula: make it easy, make it fit your life, and make it rewarding. Whenever you get in your car, take one yoga breath. Smile. Whenever you get in bed, turn off your phone. Give yourself a high five. 

Change can be easy — once it starts, it grows. Let B.J. Fogg show you exactly how.

Atomic Habits, on the other hand, is written by James Clear and goes with the tag line: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. As the Goodreads blurb claims,

No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving — every day.

Learn how to:

  • make time for new habits (even when life gets crazy)
  • overcome a lack of motivation and willpower
  • design your environment to make success easier
  • get back on track when you fall off course.

Atomic Habits will reshape the way you think about progress and success, and give you the tools and strategies you need to transform your habits — whether you are a team looking to win a championship, an organization hoping to redefine an industry, or simply an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress or achieve any other goal.

How are the two books similar?

Both books cover about the same ground: how to build habits that stick. 

Fogg discusses the B=MAP model of behavioral science which states behavior is the result of motivation, ability, and prompts taken at the same time. This is a simple formula that can lead to incredible results. In other words, a behavior is a result of:

  • Motivation, or your desire to execute the behavior.
  • Ability, i.e. your capacity to execute the behavior.
  • Prompt, or your cue to execute the behavior.

Atomic Habits, on the other hand, states that there are four elements to building habits that stick: cue, craving, response, and reward. 

Cues are the first step in a chain of action and act as the trigger for a routine. The craving comes when you think of a reward and your mind and body will you into action. The response is the way you perform the habit, and the reward is what you give yourself to celebrate every small victory.

What makes the two books different?

The core idea of both the books is the same: real change isn’t instantaneous. It comes from the compound effect of several small decisions carried out over time.

However, the approach of the two books is a bit different. 

Atomic Habits delves more into being motivational.

Tiny Habits, on the other hand, discusses more about the psychology of creating habits. 

Coming straight from a pioneering research psychologist at Stanford, Tiny Habits is a series of actionable steps you can apply right away to embrace better habits. The author is a Silicon Valley legend, the founder of the iconic Behavior Design Lab at Stanford, and one of Fortune’s ‘10 New Gurus You Should Know.’ His expertise shines through in his work.

James Clear, touted as “one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation” also has done an amazing job of breaking down habit-building into multiple steps. As Goodreads reviewer, Lily C puts it, “This book lays out all the rules of changing/developing habits in a simple, straightforward way and gets right to the point without a bunch of rambling and seemingly unrelated filler chapters like some other self-development books I’ve read.”

So, what are you waiting for? Find a life coach to unlock the next level in your life today!