In Good Habits, Bad Habits...the social psychologist Wendy Wood refutes both... determinism and glib exhortations to be proactive, and seeks to give the general reader more realistic ideas for how to break habits. Drawing on her work in the field, she sees the task of sustaining positive behaviors and quelling negative ones as involving an interplay of decisions and unconscious factors ... Even people who score high on self-control questionnaires may owe their apparent virtue to situational factors rather than to sheer fortitud ... the path to breaking bad habits lies not in resolve but in restructuring our environment in ways that sustain good behaviors ... The central force for eliminating bad habits, according to Wood, is 'friction': if we can make bad habits more inconvenient, then inertia can carry us in the direction of virtue, without ever requiring us to be strong.
Using a combination of recent studies and accessible examples drawn from real life (dieting, personal finance, exercise) Wood posits that habits are born out of repetitive tasks and routines that can be encouraged. Bad habits are not necessarily the result of lack of will power or self control; they persist because of obstacles and negative cues to better choices. Eliminate these barriers, these sources of friction, and it becomes easier to adopt desirable habits ... Readers interested in making lifestyle changes will find this a good source for logical, realistic, and supportive encouragement.
Wood persuasively instructs readers with an informative amalgam of data, graduate training experiments, and psychological theories on conscious thought and rewiring desire and mannerisms ... A practical and cautionary story about how to break the cellphone habit concludes this intelligent assessment with encouragement. A timely, essential guide to understanding and molding our behaviors to achieve better results in our ever changing lifestyles.