We all have bad habits we know we need to break.
Whether it’s spending too much time on our phones, mindlessly snacking, or procrastinating, we could all stand to improve our habits.
But changing habits can be tough and creating habits can be hard.
You know you should floss your teeth every night but somehow the bathroom sink always looks like an epic battlefield the morning after you forget.
Or maybe you want to finally start that side hustle but the snooze button keeps winning the battle for your willpower every… single… morning…
If you’re struggling to make lasting changes in your life, know that you’re not alone.
That’s where these TED Talks come in.
We’ve rounded up the best TED Talks on habits to inspire and motivate you to break old patterns and establish new, healthier ones.
25 Must-Watch TED Talks About Habits
You don’t have to sit and binge-watch all of these TED Talks, sometimes too much information can be a little overwhelming.
But bookmark this page and come back when you need some inspiration or a little push to get out of your comfort zone.
If you do want to binge-watch them though (I totally get it, I would too), be sure to take a few notes as you go, and come back and watch them again so you can really let the information sink in.
1 – “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg
In this talk, journalist Charles Duhigg explores the science of habit formation and explains how we can use that knowledge to change our bad habits and create good ones.
He also explains how habits work and why they’re so hard to break (it’s not simply poor willpower, I promise!).
Charles shares stories of individuals who have overcome incredible challenges by changing their habits, and he offers actionable insights that you can use to improve your own life.
If you’re looking for a practical guide to creating better habits, this is the talk for you.
2 – “A Simple Way to Break a Habit” by Judson Brewer
In this fun and engaging talk, psychiatrist Judson Brewer shares his research on mindfulness and habit formation.
He shares some interesting findings from his research on how mindfulness can help us become more aware of our thoughts and emotions, and he offers some practical tips that we can use to make it easier to break our bad habits.
This is a great talk for anyone interested in using mindfulness to change their habits.
3 – “The Habits of Happiness” by Matthieu Ricard
In this talk, Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard shares what he’s learned about happiness through his years of study and meditation.
This talk is less about creating specific habits and more about cultivating a general sense of happiness and well-being.
Ricard draws on his own experiences as a monk—experiences that have helped him develop tremendous inner strength and peace—to offer insights into how we can all lead happier lives.
He offers practical advice that can help anyone develop happier habits.
If you’re struggling to find joy in your day-to-day life, this talk will give you some much-needed perspective.
4 – “Inside The Mind Of A Master Procrastinator” by Tim Urban
We’ve all been there: we start working on a project, but then we get distracted and put it off until later.
In this hilarious talk, Tim Urban breaks down the science of procrastination and explains why we do it (even though we know it’s not good for us!).
This is a must-watch for anyone who struggles with procrastination (isn’t that all of us at some stage…?).
5 – “Forget Big Change – Start With A Tiny Habit” by BJ Fogg
In this TED Talk, behavior scientist BJ Fogg talks about his revolutionary method for changing habits called “Tiny Habits.”
The method is based on the idea that we’re more likely to stick to a new habit if it’s small and easy to do.
BJ shares stories of people who have used his method to change their lives, and he offers practical tips that you can use to create your own tiny habits.
I’ve read BJ’s book (also called ‘Tiny Habits’) a few times now, and it was fantastic!
I always pick up something new each time I listen to it, and it makes me feel like I can actually make a big difference without having to change major things.
6 – “How to Achieve Your Most Ambitious Goals” by Stephen Duneier
The hedge fund manager, Stephen Duneier is on a mission to change the way people set and achieve their goals.
In this talk, he shares his unique approach to goal setting, which he has used to great success in his own life.
His method is based on the premise that we are more likely to achieve our goals if we focus on the process of achieving them, rather than the outcome.
By breaking down our goals into small, manageable steps, we can increase our chances of success and stay motivated throughout the process.
Duneier’s talk is both inspiring and practical, and it provides valuable insights into the power of setting and achieving big goals.
7 – “Change Your Habits, Change Your Life!” by Niklas Linne
In his talk Niklas Linne explains that humans are creatures of habit and that our habits often dictate our lives.
He argues that we should therefore be very intentional about the habits we form.
To illustrate his point, he tells the story of how he used to be a “chocolate addict” and would eat several bars a day.
However, he eventually realized that this habit was costing him both money and calories, so he decided to change it.
He did this by slowly reducing his intake until he was down to one bar a week. He says that this process took about six months, but that it was well worth the effort in the end.
Linne’s talk is both funny and inspiring, and it provides valuable insight into the power of habits.
8 – “The Psychology of Self-Motivation” by Scott Geller
In this TEDx talk, psychology professor Scott Geller talks about the importance of self-motivation.
He shares some interesting findings from his research on how our behavior is affected by our internal motivation, and he offers some practical tips that we can use to increase our own self-motivation.
Geller’s talk is a great reminder that we have the power to change our own lives—we just need to find the motivation within ourselves to do so.
9 – “Change Anything! Use Skillpower Over Willpower” by Al Switzler
In his talk, Al Switzler defines willpower as “the decision-making muscle.”
He explains that we only have a limited amount of willpower, and when it’s gone, we’re more likely to give in to temptation.
Therefore, if we want to make lasting change, we need to find ways to strengthen our willpower muscle.
Switzler offers several practical suggestions for how to do this, including setting clear goals, finding a buddy to help hold you accountable, and using rewards and punishments to stay on track.
He also emphasizes the importance of mindset, saying that we need to believe that change is possible in order for it to happen.
Ultimately, Switzler’s TED Talk provides valuable insights into the power of willpower and how we can use it to effect positive change in our lives.
10 – “Try Something New For 30 Days” by Matt Cutts
In one of the most popular TED Talks of all time, Matt Cutts shares how he came up with the idea to try something new for 30 days and why it’s such a powerful way to change your life.
He explains how trying new things can help us break out of our comfort zones and become more open to new experiences.
Cutts’ talk is a great reminder that change doesn’t have to be scary—it can be fun, exciting, and enriching.
If you’re looking for some inspiration to try something new, this is the talk for you.
11 – “Why Some People Find Exercise Harder Than Others” by Emily Balcetis
In this TED talk, social psychologist Emily Balcetis shares her research on why some people find exercise harder than others.
She explains how our perception of effort can impact how likely we are to stick to our exercise routines, and she offers some practical tips that we can use to make it easier to stay active.
This is a great talk for anyone who struggles to find the motivation to exercise, and it offers some valuable insights into how our mindset can impact our behavior.
12 – “What Makes Some Technology So Habit-Forming?” by Nir Eyal
In this TED talk, Nir Eyal shares his insights into what makes some technology so habit-forming.
He explains how companies use our psychological triggers to keep us coming back for more, and he offers some practical tips that we can use to break our addiction to technology.
This is a must-watch for anyone who wants to understand how our brains are wired to get hooked on certain products and services.
13 – “Why Dieting Doesn’t Usually Work” by Sandra Aamodt
In this TED talk, neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt shares her insights into why dieting doesn’t usually work.
She explains how our brains are wired to resist change, and she offers some practical tips that we can use to make it easier to stick to our goals.
Aamodt’s talk is a great reminder that change is hard, but it is possible.
14 – “The Surprising Habits Of Original Thinkers” by Adam Grant
In this TED talk, organizational psychologist Adam Grant shares his insights into the habits of original thinkers.
He explains how original thinkers are often messy and disorganized, and he offers some practical tips that we can use to become more creative.
This is a great talk for anyone who wants to learn how to think outside the box, and it offers some valuable insights into the habits of creative people.
15 – “Why We All Need To Practice Emotional First Aid” by Guy Winch
In this TED talk, psychologist Guy Winch shares his insights into the importance of emotional first aid.
He explains how our emotions can impact our physical health, and he offers some practical tips that we can use to cope with difficult emotions.
While our emotional health may not be the first thing we think of when it comes to breaking and creating habits, it is certainly an important piece of the puzzle.
16 – “The Power of Forming Habits” by David Nevins
In this TED talk, media executive David Nevins shares his insights into the power of forming habits.
He explains how our brains are wired to seek out patterns, and he offers some practical tips that we can use to harness the power of habit formation.
This is a great talk for anyone who wants to learn how to create better habits, and it offers some valuable insights into how our brains work.
17 – “A Magician’s Guide to Building Better Habits” by Eric Tsoi
In this TED talk, magician Eric Tsoi shares his insights into building better habits.
I love that this talk is from a different perspective than many of the other habit-forming talks.
He explains how our brains are wired to respond to novelty, and he offers some practical tips that we can use to make it easier to stick to our goals.
This is a great talk for anyone who struggles with forming new habits, and it offers some creative and unique insights into how our brains work.
18 – “The Power Of Believing That You Can Improve” by Carol Dweck
In this TED talk, psychologist Carol Dweck shares her insights into the power of believing that you can improve.
She explains how our mindset can impact our ability to stick to our goals, and how creating a growth mindset can be the key to unlocking our potential.
I’ve also read Dweck’s book ‘Mindset’ and LOVED it. I also listened to it on audiobook and loved it even more (highly, highly recommend for everyone but especially parents as there are some really key insights into how to raise our kids with growth mindsets).
19 – “Saving For Tomorrow, Tomorrow” by Shlomo Benartzi
In this TED talk, behavioral economist Shlomo Benartzi shares his insights into the power of saving for tomorrow.
He explains how our brains are wired to discount the future, and he offers some practical tips that we can use to make it easier to save for the future.
While it is a little more finance based, this is still a great talk for anyone who struggles with saving money or forming long-term financial habits.
20 – “The 1-Minute Secret To Forming A New Habit” by Christine Carter
In this TED talk, sociologist Christine Carter shares her insights into the power of forming new habits.
She explains how our brains are wired to resist change, and she offers some practical tips that we can use to make it easier to form new habits.
You have to admit, the hook of being able to form a new habit in one minute is pretty darn enticing, and the talk certainly lives up to the hype of the title.
21 – “Nothing to Regret – Small Bad Habits Cause Lifelong Regrets” by Iman Aghay
In this TED talk, psychiatrist Iman Aghay shares her insights into the power of regret.
She explains how our brains are wired to seek out patterns, and she offers some practical tips that we can use to make it easier to form new habits.
Aghay’s talk is unique in that it focuses on the idea of regret, and how our brains can use regret to help us form new habits.
This is a great talk for anyone who struggles with forming new habits, or who wants to learn more about how our brains work.
22 – “How To Stop Screwing Yourself Over” by Mel Robbins
In this TED talk, life coach Mel Robbins shares her insights into the power of taking action.
She explains how our brains are wired to resist change, and she offers some practical tips that we can use to make it easier to take action.
This is a great talk for anyone who struggles with taking action, or who wants to learn more about how our brains work.
Again, Mel’s books are amazing (and it was in one of her books that she recommended ‘Mindset’ by Carol Dweck) and if you love audiobooks, you’ll really love listening to Mel.
23 – “The Science Of Habits” by Marco Badwal
Marco Badwal’s TED Talk “The Science of Habits” is both funny and informative.
He begins by talking about his personal experience of trying to break a bad habit, and then he delves into the science behind why habits are so difficult to break.
According to Badwal, there are three main reasons why habits are so hard to break: they’re automatic, they’re cued by our environment, and they provide us with rewards.
However, Badwal also offers some hope, saying that it is possible to break bad habits by replacing them with new ones.
He provides some practical tips for how to do this, such as making sure that the new habit is simple and sustainable, and he ends on a motivational note, saying that we should view breaking bad habits as an opportunity to create a better version of ourselves.
24 – “How To Motivate Yourself To Change Your Behavior” by Tali Sharot
Tali Sharot’s TED Talk “How To Motivate Yourself To Change Your Behavior” explores the science of motivation and how it can be used to change your behavior.
Sharot begins by discussing the importance of setting goals, and how our brain is wired to seek out pleasure and avoid pain.
She then talks about how we can use this knowledge to motivate ourselves to change our behavior.
For example, we can give ourselves rewards for reaching our goals, or we can make it easier for ourselves to engage in desired behaviors by making them more convenient.
Sharot also discusses the role of social pressure in motivation, and how we are more likely to change our behavior if we perceive that others approve of the change.
Ultimately, Sharot’s talk is both informative and inspirational, providing listeners with concrete strategies for motivating themselves to change their behavior.
25 – “The Power Of Habit” by Jude Aburdan
In his TED talk, “The Power Of Habit,” Jude Aburdan discusses the importance of developing good habits in order to achieve success in life.
He explains that habits are essentially neurological patterns that are formed through repetition, and that they can be both helpful and harmful.
However, he argues that the key to success is to focus on developing positive habits that will help us reach our goals.
He cites several examples of successful people who have utilized this approach, including Barack Obama and Steve Jobs.
He concludes by urging the audience to think about the habits they would like to develop in order to improve their lives.
This talk is both inspiring and informative, and it provides valuable insight into the power of habit.
BONUS: “1% Better Every Day” by James Clear
Even though this isn’t a TED Talk, I wholeheartedly believe this talk by James Clear belongs on this list (and I wish he’d do a TED Talk on this already…).
James is the author of ‘Atomic Habits’ – a book I’ve read many times and even listened to the audiobook in the car with my pre-teen son (he loved it too!).
In this talk, James shares his philosophy of “getting 1% better every day” and how it can lead to massive success over time.
I love this approach because it takes the pressure off of needing to be perfect and instead focuses on simply making small, incremental improvements each day.
This is a great talk for anyone who is looking for some inspiration to keep going on their journey of habit change.
Habits play a major role in our lives—for better or for worse.
But the good news is that we have more control over our habits than we often realize.
By being more intentional about the way we live our lives, we can create positive change in ourselves and in the world around us.
We hope these TED Talks have given you some food for thought and inspired you to make some positive changes in your own life!