Action Design Radio
Action Design Radio explores a variety of topics through the lens of behavioral science and psychology. Hosts Erik Johnson and Zarak Khan interview experts and practitioners to learn about cutting edge behavioral research, and how to practically apply it to fields like public policy and consumer products. The podcast is supported by the Action Design Network, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2012 to promote the use of behavioral economics and psychology with over 10,000 members across the US and Canada.

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Katy Milkman - How to Design Effective and Lasting New Year's Resolutions

How can we create better habits? This is a question many of us ask ourselves as we enter the New Year and try to implement our resolutions (and stick with them). Life outcomes like exercising regularly, flossing, eating a healthy diet, studying hard in school, making wise financial decisions – why are better habits so hard to maintain? And what can we do in order to improve our chances of meeting these goals for ourselves?

In this week’s episode, Erik and Zarak tackle these questions with Dr. Katy Milkman, associate professor of behavioral economics at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. They discuss behavioral concepts like habits, incentives, motivation, rewards, consequences, accountability, and commitment devices. Katy brings an engineering background to her current focus on quantitative social science research, such as how to help people create lasting and positive behavior change.

One of the most relevant behavioral concepts to New Year’s is the fresh start effect – how at the start of new cycles in our lives, we feel extra motivated to tackle new goals. Entering a new period makes us feel like we have a separation from our past failures, and we have a renewed optimism to finally do the things we want to do but never got around to. According to Katy, emphasizing milestones or life events (big or small) can be effective motivators for behavior change.

2018-01-07 23:13:21 UTC

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