245. How to use behavioral science to break bad habits and make your goals stick

With Dr. Katherine “Katy” Milkman
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Show Notes


Title: How to use behavioral science to break bad habits and make your goals stick

Encore Episode 245

GUEST: Dr. Katy Milkman, award-winning Wharton professor and author “How to Change”

THIS WEEK’S TOPIC: Ever find that the goals you set for yourself back in January have become a distant memory? 

Turns out, there are some significant scientific reasons why goals we set and habits we are attempting to break can be undermined by the way we attempt to tackle them. 

Learning the best ways to create positive change for ourselves and to create better habits is an important investment in ourselves, and can be important for building influence in your life and career. 


In this week’s ENCORE Episode, I’m joined by Dr. Katherine “Katy” Milkman, an award-winning professor of behavioral science at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and the co-director (along with Professor Angela Duckworth (author of “Grit”) of the Behavior Change for Good Initiative, a research center with the mission of advancing the science of lasting behavior change whose work is being chronicled by Freakonomics Radio

Katy is an expert on how to spur positive and lasting change, and she’s the author of the bestselling book: How to Change: The Science of Getting From Where You are to Where You Want to Be.” She hosts the popular Charles Schwab behavioral economics podcast Choiceology, and is the former president of the international Society for Judgment and Decision Making.  

Over the course of her career, Katy has worked with or advised dozens of organizations on how to spur positive change.  


THE SCIENCE BEHIND WHY WE HAVE TROUBLE BREAKING BAD HABITS AND ACHIEVING OUR GOALS: Unlike many self-help authors, Katy’s approach is based in behavioral science 

THE ROLE OF MINDSET: why the way you think about and approach goals can make a tremendous difference in their outcome.  

THE ROLE OF CONFIDENCE & SELF-DOUBT: A lack of self-efficacy can prevent us from setting goals in the first place. When we don’t “believe” we have the capacity to change it makes taking that first step incredibly difficult. 



HOW TO COMBAT THE “WHAT THE HELL EFFECT” that often occurs when you’ve already slipped

 Why THE COMPANY YOU KEEP matters: Your mother was right! Katy says don’t underestimate the impact the people around us have on our goals and habits.  

KATY’S ADVISORS: originally called “The NO Club,” is a great example of the power of connection and of creating a network that supports particular goals and objectives. 

Understanding human nature and using natural tendencies to not only better manage ourselves, but also to understand others is an important key to INFLUENCE. 

Let me know what you thought of the episode! You can reach me on Instagram @LauraCoxKaplan or via the website. I’d love to hear from you! And, if you’d like to share your thoughts to help others find us, please be sure to leave a review on iTunes.  


“How to Change: the science behind getting where you are to where you want to be”

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