How to change

Katy Milkman

‘Change comes most readily when you understand what’s standing between you and success and tailor your solution to that roadblock. If you want to work out more but find exercise difficult and boring, downloading a goal-setting app probably won’t help. But what if, instead, you transformed your workouts so they became a source of pleasure instead of a chore? Turning an uphill battle into a downhill one is the key to success.’

Barriers to change

‘Drawing on Milkman’s original research and the work of her world-renowned scientific collaborators, How to Change shares strategic methods for identifying and overcoming common barriers to change, such as impulsivity, procrastination, and forgetfulness.

Through case studies and engaging stories, you’ll learn:

  • Why timing can be everything when it comes to making a change
  • How to turn temptation and inertia into assets
  • That giving advice, even if it’s about something you’re struggling with, can help you achieve more

Whether you’re a manager, coach, or teacher aiming to help others change for the better or are struggling to kick-start change yourself, How to Change offers an invaluable, science-based blueprint for achieving your goals, once and for all.’

Psychologische principes  in How to change (nuggets by



Listen in as host Katy Milkman shares stories of irrational decision making—from historical blunders to the kinds of everyday errors that could affect your future. Choiceology, an original podcast from Charles Schwab, explores the lessons of behavioral economics, exposing the psychological traps that lead to expensive mistakes.



Paulius Pikelus geeft het boek drie sterren. Hij schrijft op – ‘one of those books that can be summarized in 3 pages. Key points for myself:

  1. Easier to pursue change after a fresh start (bday, move, new year, etc)
  2. Combine temptation with meaningful activity (e.g. run and listen to podcasts)
  3. Gamification to make boring more engaging (e.g. symbolic rewards). But need to ‘buy in’ and not feel like it’s ‘imposed’
  4. Commitment devices not to procrastinate (e.g. lock money in savings account, impose significant tangible penalties, eat from smaller plate)
  5. Smaller but more frequent commitments work better
  6. Timely reminders, planning, cue-based plans that are very specific (‘when xx happens, I’ll do xx’) help to remember and persevere
  7. Laziness=path of least resistance; default=do nothing. Change it so that default becomes sth useful (e.g. setting homepage to news, climb stairs, walk to work, build new routines)
  8. Streaks matter. Don’t stop. Or agree to do 5 trainings a week rather than 7, i.e. allow ’emergency’ passes
  9. Self doubt is a killer. Might prevent you from setting the goal in the first place
  10. Attribute butterflies in stomach to excitement rather than anxiety when speaking publicly
  11. Believing that people expect you to do well on test can increase your score
  12. Surround yourself with people who support your growth and have similar goals. Form advice clubs to boost confidence
  13. Low achievers are harmful
  14. Giving advice helps us act because we feel hypocritical if we dont do things we advised others to do
  15. Deliberately watch peers who managed to achieve the goal and copy their methods’

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