On Habits

“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken."

Samuel Johnson, 18th century British poet, essayist, and literary critic

“Habits are safer than rules; you don’t have to watch them. And you don’t have to keep them, either. They keep you."

Dr. Frank Crane, Presbyterian minister, speaker, and columnist

“The second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half."

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Russian writer and philosopher

“Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them."

Confucius, 5th century Chinese teacher and social philosopher

“Every grown-up man consists wholly of habits, although he is often unaware of it and even denies having any habits at all."

Georges Gurdjieff, Greek-Armenian mystic

“A habit is something you can do without thinking - which is why most of us have so many of them."


“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."

Jim Ryun, American politician and former track athlete

“Bad habits are easier to abandon today than tomorrow."

Yiddish Proverb

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit."

Aristotle, seminal Greek naturalist and rationalist and father of Western philosophy

Read more essays by Josh Kaufman →

Published: March 7, 2007Last updated: March 7, 2007

Books by Josh Kaufman