Blue field like crop rows and burgundy border, saying "Don't Just Survive - Thrive

How to Change

By Katy Milkman – Buy It

Getting started:

  • The best time to consider change pursuit is after a fresh start or milestone
  • Changes like this can interrupt you if you’re on a roll, so be careful that you don’t disrupt positive habits
  • This is especially all true for encouraging OTHER people undergoing fresh starts


  • If a goal has small instant gratifications, it is more likely to fight the impulsivity of old habits
  • Put something you don’t like with something you do (workouts with podcasts)
  • Gamification only works if the players want to play


  • Anticipate procrastination and create constraints that disrupt this, like locked savings accounts where you can’t get the money until you acheive your goal
  • cash commitment can be very effective
  • Public pledges are fairly effective because you worry about people seeing your “failure”
  • Smaller, more frequent is better than large, less frequent


  • Timely reminders RIGHT before you need to do it
  • When X, then Y will help you follow through
  • Too many cue-based plans will make you fail, one or two at a time
  • If plans are too complex, go for checklists


  • Make the default NOT laziness. If you don’t don’t do Y, something negative happens
  • Rigidity kills good habits
  • Track behavior and you can feel the reward of consistency
  • Piggy back: link whatever you want to do regularly (like, push ups) with something you already do (drink coffee in the morning)


  • Don’t let self doubt win
  • Unsolicited advice can undermine their confidence. Asking for advice builds it, and forces habits.
  • Expectations shape reality
  • Set ambitious goals but allow for emergency passes


  • Look for people around you to show you what’s possible.
  • Decisions are heavily influenced by norms in your groups – keep inspiring company
  • Describing typical, desirable behavior can help you change
  • The closer you are to someone, the more their situation resembles your own
  • Give people a chance to earn public praise vs call outs
  • If achievements of peers seem out of reach, this can demotivate you
  • If you feel someone making you nervous, slow down and avoid them