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’

Good habits, bad habits

Wendy Wood, The science of making positive changes that stick

Waarom is het zo makkelijk om te besluiten om te veranderen, maar zo moeilijk om het vol te houden? Wilskracht lijkt het probleem niet, maar wat dan wel?

De kracht van gewoontes

‘About 43 percent of what people do every day is repeated in the same context, usually while they are thinking about something else. A habit is a sort of a mental shortcut to repeat what we did in the past that worked for us and got us some reward,’ aldus Wendy Wood.

‘We are all dependent on the context in which we live. We form habits based on what’s easy and rewarding, what’s easy for us to do repeatedly and what’s rewarding in our context in the places where we live.’

Succesvolle mensen beschikken niet per se over meer wilskracht of grotere zelfbeheersing. ‘People who score high on self-control don’t achieve successes in life by exerting control. They are not practicing self-denial by white-knuckling through life. Instead, they know how to form habits that meet their goals.’

A conversation with Wendy Wood

The Choice Factory

How 25 behavioural biases influence the products we decide to buy (2018)

‘Before you can influence decisions, you need to understand what drives them. In The Choice Factory, Richard Shotton sets out to help you learn. By observing a typical day of decision-making, from trivial food choices to significant work-place moves, he investigates how our behaviour is shaped by psychological shortcuts.’

Richard Shotton beschrijft 25 biases die ons beïnvloeden:

  • Bias 1: The Fundamental Attribution Error
  • Bias 2: Social Proof
  • Bias 3: Negative Social Proof
  • Bias 4: Distinctiveness
  • Bias 5: Habit
  • Bias 6: The Pain of Payment
  • Bias 7: The Danger of Claimed Data
  • Bias 8: Mood
  • Bias 9: Price Relativity
  • Bias 10: Primacy Effect
  • Bias 11: Expectancy Theory
  • Bias 12: Confirmation Bias
  • Bias 13: Overconfidence
  • Bias 14: Wishful Seeing
  • Bias 15: Media Context
  • Bias 16: The Curse of Knowledge Bias 17: Goodhart’s Law
  • Bias 18: The Pratfall Effect
  • Bias 19: Winner’s Curse
  • Bias 20: The Power of the Group
  • Bias 21: Veblen Goods
  • Bias 22: The Replicability Crisis
  • Bias 23: Variability
  • Bias 24: Cocktail Party Effect
  • Bias 25: Scarcity

Alles is ergens: wie goed zoekt, zal vinden.


Richard Thaler

‘People are busy, they’re absent-minded, they’re lazy and [that] we should try to make things as easy for them as possible,’ zegt Richard Thaler. Mensen hebben af en toe een klein duwtje in de rug nodig, we zijn namelijk ‘humans’ en geen ‘econs’.

Thaler zegt ook dat we allemaal Choice Architects zijn (zie filmpje dat een samenvatting van het boek geeft).







Takeaways voor BD

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  • Tool: NUDGES – via de beginletters kun je zes manieren om te nudgen onthouden
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