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Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick

Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick

by Wendy Wood
Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick

Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick

by Wendy Wood


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A landmark book about how we form habits, and what we can do with this knowledge to make positive change

We spend a shocking 43 percent of our day doing things without thinking about them. That means that almost half of our actions aren’t conscious choices but the result of our non-conscious mind nudging our body to act along learned behaviors. How we respond to the people around us; the way we conduct ourselves in a meeting; what we buy; when and how we exercise, eat, and drink—a truly remarkable number of things we do every day, regardless of their complexity, operate outside of our awareness. We do them automatically. We do them by habit. And yet, whenever we want to change something about ourselves, we rely on willpower. We keep turning to our conscious selves, hoping that our determination and intention will be enough to effect positive change. And that is why almost all of us fail. But what if you could harness the extraordinary power of your unconscious mind, which already determines so much of what you do, to truly reach your goals?

Wendy Wood draws on three decades of original research to explain the fascinating science of how we form habits, and offers the key to unlocking our habitual mind in order to make the changes we seek. A potent mix of neuroscience, case studies, and experiments conducted in her lab, Good Habits, Bad Habits is a comprehensive, accessible, and above all deeply practical book that will change the way you think about almost every aspect of your life. By explaining how our brains are wired to respond to rewards, receive cues from our surroundings, and shut down when faced with too much friction, Wood skillfully dissects habit formation, demonstrating how we can take advantage of this knowledge to form better habits. Her clear and incisive work shows why willpower alone is woefully inadequate when we’re working toward building the life we truly want, and offers real hope for those who want to make positive change.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250159090
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 12/29/2020
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 113,291
Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 5.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Wendy Wood is Provost Professor of Psychology and Business at the University of Southern California. She has written for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, and her work has been featured in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Time magazine, and USA Today, and on NPR. She lectures widely and recently launched the website Good Habits Bad Habits to convey scientific insight on habit to the general public.

Table of Contents

Part I How We Really Are

1 Persistence and Change 3

2 The Depths Beneath 20

3 Introducing Your Second Self 34

4 What About Knowledge? 51

5 What About Self-Control? 66

Part II The Three Bases of Habit Formation

6 Context 83

7 Repetition 99

8 Reward 115

9 Consistency Is for Closers 130

10 Total Control 145

Part III Special Cases, Big Opportunities, and the World Around Us

11 Jump Through Windows 161

12 The Special Resilience of Habit 177

13 Contexts of Addiction 189

14 Happy with Habit 203

15 You Are Not Alone 217

Epilogue 231

How to Stop Looking at Your Phone So Often 233

Notes 237

Bibliography 263

Acknowledgments 287

Index 289

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