Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don't, and How to Make Any Change Stick

Paperback | December 10, 2013

byJeremy Dean

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At least one third of our waking hours are lived on autopilot. But habits of the mind do not have to control us—we can steer them. Drawing on the latest research, psychologist Jeremy Dean explains why seemingly easy habits can prove difficult to form and how to take charge of your brain’s routines to make any change stick. Making Habits, Breaking Habits explains that it is possible to bend habits to your will—and become happier, more creative, and more productive.

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From the Publisher

At least one third of our waking hours are lived on autopilot. But habits of the mind do not have to control us—we can steer them. Drawing on the latest research, psychologist Jeremy Dean explains why seemingly easy habits can prove difficult to form and how to take charge of your brain’s routines to make any change stick. Making Habit...

Psychologist Jeremy Dean is the founder and author of the popular website "PsyBlog" (, which is viewed by upwards of 1 million readers monthly. The site analyses—with wit, clarity, and erudition—psychological studies that are relevant to everyday life. Dean launched PsyBlog in 2004, when he noticed a dearth of smart, read...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:December 10, 2013Publisher:Da Capo PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0306822628

ISBN - 13:9780306822629

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Anatomy of a Habit

1. Birth of a Habit
2. Habit Versus Intention: An Unfair Fight
3. Your Secret Autopilot
4. Don’t Think, Just Do It!


5. The Daily Grind
6. Stuck in a Depressing Loop
7. When Bad Habits Kill
8. Online All the Time


9. Making Habits
10. Breaking Habits
11. Healthy Habits
12. Creative Habits
13. Happy Habits

Editorial Reviews

The Bookseller, “Editor’s Pick,” 10/12/12“Sensible and very readableBy far the most useful of this month’s New You offerings.”Kirkus Reviews, 1/1/13“Making changes does take longer than we may expect—no 30-day, 30-pounds-lighter quick fix—but by following the guidelines laid out by Dean, readers have a decent chance at establishing fulfilling, new patterns.”Publishers Weekly, 12/10/12“An accessible and informative guide for readers to take control of their lives.”“Bookworm Sez” syndicated review“By helping us understand what makes us tick and why, author Jeremy Dean avoids platitudes and misty advice to give his readers the tools they need to stop being frustrated by change and lack thereof. He advocates patience and dispels a lot of myths about why we do the things we do (or don’t), explaining why our willpower fails us or why we find some habits easy to make. That’s helpful, and could make a fix that sticksThis bookwould be advantageous to anyone who’s serious about changing behavior.”Curled Up with a Good Book, 1/6/13“Loaded with surprising information about the brain and human behavior, this book that lays out a strategy for taking charge of ourselves. We probably can’t beat all our habits forever, but Making Habits, Breaking Habits offers a battle plan that allows us to know the enemy and sometimes evade it.”Philadelphia Tribune, 1/6/13“Dean busts the myths to finally explain why seemingly easy habits, like eating an apple a day, can be surprisingly difficult to form, and how to take charge of your brain’s natural ‘autopilot’ to make any change stickWitty and intriguing, Making Habits, Breaking Habits shows how behavior is more than just a product of what you think.”Spirituality & Practice, 1/15/13“[A] fascinating bookDean demonstrates a knack for cutting through generalities and cutting to the heart of the matter. Making Habits, Breaking Habits will shed new light on your own private and public behavior and the many quests for change that you undertake in your everyday life.”, 1/17/13“What really stands out in Dean’s bookis the insight behind habits and their unconscious nature and often, their benefitsFull of anecdotes and interesting studies, Making Habits, Breaking Habits is an engaging read.”, 1/17/13“Dean argues convincingly that habits are essentially automatic pilotsThe prescriptive part of self-help books is where many of them fall down. Dean’s is better than mostThe book reads like one in which Dean primarily shares his own fascination with a variety of research projects of various kinds, pausing occasionally to relate this study or that back to the whole issue of forming and changing habits. And there is nothing wrong with being a bit discursive, especially when the underlying material is as interesting as much of it is here.”DaySpa, January 2013“Analyzes the phenomenon of habits, and breaks them down so they can be fully understood—and ultimately managed.”Truth, January 2013"Dean helps you understand the psychology behind your habits—both good and bad—and gives you the information you need to kick a bad habit and finally keep your New Year’s resolution.”, February 2013"This is serious psychology and an often fascinating look at the way habits are formed, reinforced, and strengthened throughout our livesSmoking, drinking, and comparable bad behaviors can be changed and this book can help anyone seeking to make that change.”ForeWord Brain Pickings, 1/5/14"Remarkably insightful and functionally helpful in its entirety.”January Magazine, “Best Books of 2013,” 1/3/14“Though Dean is currently working towards a doctorate in psychology, his voice is casual, friendly and smart. More importantly for a book of this nature, he knows how to break his material down and present it in a way that is not only logical, but also stays interesting and connectedAn entertaining and deeply interesting book. And a huge bonus for some readers: it actually has the potential to totally change your life.”Hudson Valley News, 1/15/2014“This book is exceptionally reader-friendly.”Sarasota Herald Tribune, 1/28/14“[A] compelling new book.”Grand Rapids Press, 12/20/15“Written in a readable style, this could be just the info you need to make this year’s resolution stick.”