Catching up with Speaker Katherine Milkman (And Learning Tips for Lasting Change)
Change—we all want it, we just don’t want to do it. As behavioral economist and grit expert Katherine Milkman proves, we need all the help we can get to not just kickstart change, but make it stick. Why leave it up to chance? Milkman recently dropped by the Lavin office to fill us in on her most recent research, including the power of temptation and why “gyms are the fruit flies of habit research.”
In her talks, Katherine Milkman discusses the science of lasting change, from breaking bad habits to maintaining tough goals. How do we learn self-control in an age of distraction? An expert in big data and behavioral economics, Milkman studies the ways we deviate from optimal choices—and how human decision-making can be improved. In her funny and fascinating talks, she offers accessible insights into encouraging good choices: in our customers, our employees, and ourselves. For instance—gym usage, which Milkman likens to a lab full of fruit flies. “It’s because we can measure the habits of gym users so easily,” she explains, each machine a repository of data. So, what are a few ways for us to increase our gym attendance?
— Don’t start with the thing that pushes you away, she says. Warm yourself up with a fun activity, (or at least a less awful one).
— Bribe yourself with “temptation bundling.” Want to watch Netflix till your eyes bleed? Make a rule that you can only do it while running on the treadmill. Your couch will thank you.
— Social pressure goes a long way! Switch running shoes with your friend and make a date to work out the next morning. You’ll both have to show up if you don’t want to hold the other back … and if that’s no concern, you might not want to lose those brand new Nike Flyknits.