There’s no shortage of information out there on how to change — how to lose weight, exercise more, curb your anger, quit smoking, and every other kind of habit someone might want to pick up or drop.
But despite this avalanche of information, you’re probably struggling to change just as much as you ever did.
What you need is an actual strategy — to identify what particular barrier is keeping you from a particular goal, and a specific solution to that specific roadblock.
My guest is well-positioned to help you cut through the voluminous noise around personal change and hone in on both sides of this equation. Her name is Katy Milkman, and she’s a Wharton professor who’s spent her career studying behavioral economics and the author of How to Change: The Science of Getting From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. On the show today, Katy and I walk through common reasons people aren’t successful in changing, and the best, research-backed tools for turning uphill battles into downhill ones. We discuss the ideal times to begin a new habit and the power of fresh starts, how to get motivated to tackle something when there are more pleasurable things you’d rather be doing, how to use commitment devices to stay the course, why giving advice to someone else can help you take that advice yourself, and the crucial importance of surrounding yourself with peers who are better — but not too much better — than you are.
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- How and why Katy made the switch from engineering to behavior change
- What makes behavior change so hard?
- What keeps us from getting started?
- Using our life’s chapter breaks to be more motivated to change
- What’s the risk of using these fresh start moments?
- The underrated power of fun when pursuing your goals
- Using temptation bundling to get stuff done
- What’s a commitment device? When is a good time to use it?
- Forming a plan so that you won’t forget it
- Why you should consider starting an advice club
- The power of our social groups to affect our behavior
- Figuring out which tactics to use in your own life
Resources/Articles/People Mentioned in Podcast
- Stick With It — The Science of Behavior Change
- Stop Procrastinating Today With Behavioral Science
- Why You Don’t Finish What You Start
- The Importance of a Good Start: Using Temporal Landmarks to Achieve Your Goals
- When — The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
- AoM’s archives on habits
- Making Unbreakable Resolutions
- The Power of Implementation Intentions
- How Forgetfulness Torpedos Your Journey to Becoming the Person You Want to Be
Connect With Katy
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Read the Transcript