How to change and achieve your goal
and what I am working on this week
How has your weekend been? Mine has been full but fun. When weekends are full like this I have to make strategic choices on where to spend my time. Using my goal to help me make the right decision is always super helpful, as are having solid positive habits that are part of everyday routines. These habits mean that I get more done as I don’t spend time procrastinating or deciding on when and how to do certain things.
Positive habit formation is definitely key to my succeeding with my goals. I have read many books and watched many videos on habits and a book I read recently now tops all other resources I have found when it comes to making positive changes to your life through habits. The book is - How to Change - The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be By: Katy Milkman.
Katy Milkman is a behavioural scientist and Professor at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She currently co-directs the Behavior Change for Good Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania and hosts Choiceology, a podcast about behavioural economics that I have recommended a number of times in this newsletter. Where some authors talk about studies that look at behaviour change Milkman has actually run many famous studies herself.
Key Takeaways from How To Change
What I loved about the book was its simplicity. It is short (272 pages), the chapters are specific and contain an excellent “chapter takeaways” section at the end of each chapter. Today I wanted to share with you what I found to be the key takeaways:
"Temptation bundling" involves pairing a task we need to do with something we enjoy, making it more likely we'll stick to it.
This strategy can be particularly effective for tasks we tend to procrastinate on or find boring.
By making our desired behaviors more enjoyable, we can increase our motivation to stick to them.
"Implementation intentions" involve making specific plans for how and when we'll take action toward our goals.
This strategy can help overcome procrastination and make it easier to stick to our goals.
By breaking down our goals into specific actions and planning when and where we'll take those actions, we can increase our likelihood of success.
"Pre-commitment" involves making a choice now that limits our options in the future to prevent us from making choices that go against our goals.
This strategy can help overcome present bias and increase our self-control.
By making a plan and committing to it ahead of time, we can increase our chances of following through on our goals.
The Fresh Start Effect
The "fresh start effect" refers to our tendency to be more motivated to make changes at key points in time, such as the start of a new year or the beginning of a new week.
This effect can be harnessed to help make lasting changes and break bad habits.
By recognising and taking advantage of fresh starts, we can increase our motivation to make positive changes.
"Action-sabotaging beliefs" are the thoughts and beliefs that hold us back from taking action towards our goals
Identifying and challenging our action-sabotaging beliefs can help us overcome them and take action towards our goals.
Techniques such as cognitive reappraisal and reframing can help us shift our thinking and overcome limiting beliefs.
By recognising and addressing our negative beliefs, we can increase our self-efficacy and improve our chances of success.
Forget About Willpower
Relying on willpower to achieve our goals can be challenging and unsustainable.
"Automating" our behaviors by creating systems and routines can help us make lasting changes.
By making our desired behaviors easy and automatic, we can reduce the need for willpower and increase our chances of success.
"Friction" refers to the obstacles and challenges that make it difficult to take action towards our goals.
By reducing friction and making it easier to take the right actions, we can increase our motivation and stick to our goals.
Techniques such as simplification, optimisation, and environment design can help reduce friction.
Plan for Failure
Planning for failure and anticipating potential obstacles can help us be better prepared to overcome them.
By imagining worst-case scenarios and planning how to overcome them, we can increase our resilience and improve our chances of success.
Embracing a "positive pessimism" mindset can help us prepare for the worst while still maintaining a positive outlook.