Are you having trouble reaching your goals? The problem may be that you’re focusing only on goals. They only wish to do the work necessary to achieve those goals without a solid system.

In Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, author James Clear breaks down systematic ways of approaching habits to make them more effective and sustainable. As Clear points out, what separates the successful from the non-successful isn’t the will to succeed but the processes that make success possible.

Anyone who’s ever started an ambitious weight loss goal on January 1 knows the recipe for failure. You’ll return to Netflix and Doritos by mid-February without a robust and habit-creating plan. Instead of diving headlong toward the weight loss goal, starting slowly, learning to love the process, and making incremental progress for long-term benefits is better.

Many of Clear’s recommendations are based on psychology, recognizing the mental barriers we must overcome to build good habits and break bad ones. For example, he writes that outcome-based habits (focusing on what you want to achieve) are not as effective as identity-based habits (focusing on who you want to become). Managing habits isn’t just about willpower. It’s about understanding the human mind to set yourself up for success.

The core of Clear’s advice involves making beneficial behaviors effortless and harmful behaviors difficult. He gives multiple strategies for making this happen. For example, an implementation intention specifies a time and location to implement a habit, thus creating a visual cue to make engaging in that behavior obvious: “I will [behavior] at [time] in [location].” Once that habit is in place, you can use it as part of “habit stacking” to build new ones: “After I [current habit], I will [new habit].”

If you’re frustrated about a goal that feels out of reach—whether in business, health, or relationships—ask yourself whether your habits are holding you back. Then pick up Atomic Habits, a practical, research-backed, easy-to-understand guide for making habits work to your advantage.

Habits are a key to success. But breaking bad ones and creating good ones can be incredibly frustrating. Fortunately, James Clear‘s Atomic Habits provides easy to understand strategies for harnessing your habits and using them to your advantage. Read our review, and find a link to purchase a copy from our page.