Lancefield on the Line

Katy Milkman: How can you change for the better? And stick at it?

April 06, 2022 David Lancefield Season 2 Episode 13
Lancefield on the Line
Katy Milkman: How can you change for the better? And stick at it?
Show Notes Chapter Markers


The last few years will have forced or encouraged us to make changes in our lives. In a positive light, some people have spent better quality time with family and friends, enjoyed the company of their neighbours, exercised more regularly and taken up hobbies again. But when the pressure's on, and there's no systemic "shock" to deal with, it's natural that we slip back to some of our old ways.

To overcome this, Katy Milkman says we should understand our internal obstacles — or “opponents” — and then select the right strategies to overcome them. She picks seven obstacles we face - getting started, impulsivity, procrastination, forgetting, laziness, lack of confidence, and conformity. Whatever situation you’re in, she encourages us to do things that are enjoyable, otherwise we're not going to persist in changing our ways.

More about Katy:

Katy Milkman is the James G. Dinan Professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and holds a secondary appointment at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. Her research explores ways that insights from economics and psychology can be harnessed to change consequential behaviors for good, such as savings, exercise, student achievement, vaccination and discrimination. To that end, she co-founded and co-directs the Behavior Change for Good Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania. 

In 2021 Katy was named one of the world’s top 50 management thinkers and the world’s top strategy thinker by Thinkers50. The New York Times also named her bestselling book How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be one of the eight best books for healthy
living in 2021. 


  • Book - How to Change: the Science of Getting from where you are to where you want to be.
  • Choiceology podcast.
  • Katy's newsletter - the Milkman delivers.

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Why should anyone read her book ‘How to Change’
The big stumbling blocks to change
Do the book’s ideas still work when we’re tired?
The most intriguing factor (in Change) she’s researched
The importance of persistence
What she struggles to change even as an award-winning professor
What a CEO should learn from her research
What a strategist can learn from ‘How to Change’
Advice for political leaders
How to collaborate effectively in academia (and elsewhere)
Frontiers of behavioural science