We all know people who don’t enroll in the 401k program at work despite understanding the power of investing or those who won’t stop smoking even though there’s a history of lung cancer in their family. But while incredibly frustrating to the outside observer, we are all resistant to change in some aspect of our lives.
Understanding where and why we resist change is important because modifying the behavior of those we lead is often central to our mission. And what do we do when information and rational persuasion don’t work? Today we have the pleasure of talking to a world renowned behavioral scientist, Dr. Katy Milkman about what makes change so hard, strategies to tackle these barriers and how to harness the power of a fresh start.
Dr. Milkman is the James G. Dinan Professor at the Wharton School, author of How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, co-founder and co-director of the Behavior Change for Good Initiative, and host of the Choiceology podcast from Charles Schwab.
- Why information and logic alone doesn’t change behavior
- “Fresh starts” and the science of timing
- Planning for disruption and the power of expectations
- What’s the “price for the vice”?
- Barriers to change and how to overcome them
Connect with Dr. Milkman:
Via her website: www.katymilkman.com/book
Via her podcast: Choiceology
Via Twitter: @katy_milkman
We’re starting to travel again for our Apprenticeships (if you haven’t joined us for one yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!) and it’s been difficult to make sure we’re managing both nutrition and exercise on the road. Luckily, we have two partners who are perfectly aligned to help us through this transition. Momentous has the cleanest protein and supplements I’ve ever tried (truly the only ones that don’t make me feel like crap afterward), and Saga’s BFR cuffs allow me to get an incredible workout in my hotel room or AirBnB. Whether or not you’re traveling right now, be sure to give them some love for supporting your favorite podcast!
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Brett Bartholomew 0:06
Welcome to the Art of coaching podcast, a show aimed at getting to the core of what it takes to change attitudes, behaviors and outcomes in the weight room, boardroom classroom, and everywhere in between. I’m your host, Brett Bartholomew, I’m a performance coach, keynote speaker, and the author of the book conscious coaching. But most importantly, I’m a lifelong student interested in all aspects of human behavior, and communication. I want to thank you for joining me. And now let’s dive into today’s episode.
behavior change is a core objective of any leader. And all of us, regardless of where we come from our intelligence level, or our experiences, can be really stubborn at times and struggled to get out of our own way. Now, why hasn’t this fact changed in the hundreds of 1000s of years humans have been on this planet? Why, despite all the books and the resources that are out there, and the hard lessons learned, do we still struggle to do simple things like save for retirement with smoking, be more active, alter the way we communicate with others or overcome basic daily obstacles that end up costing us time, money, sometimes even relationships? I mean, literally, even when you try to mentor somebody, if you’ve been a mentor, you know that eventually you’re going to see somebody not take your advice and learn those lessons the hard way, and it never matters how many have came before them. Now, usually this is because we fail to understand the realities of human nature. And thus, we end up creating strategies that are more hopeful than they are tactical. So to help us learn how we can better solve these problems, I sat down with a world renowned behavioral scientists, Katy Milkman. Katy Milkman is an award winning behavioral scientist and the James G diamond professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She’s worked with dozens of organizations to encourage positive change, including get this Walmart, Google, the US Department of Defense, the American Red Cross, and many others. She co founded and CO directs the behavior change for good initiative at the University of Pennsylvania and host choice ology. A popular Charles Schwab podcast about behavioral economics. Her research is regularly featured by major media outlets such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and NPR. But here’s one area I got the scoop. Until our episode, she had never talked about her athletic career. So we even get into all things coaching, as well. And if you find this conversation to be up your alley, be sure to check out her latest book, How to change the science of getting from where you are, to where you want to be. It’s in hardcover, and it’s going to be available everywhere via Amazon on May fourth 2021. All right, here we go with Dr. Katy Milkman.
Hey, thanks so much for sitting down for another episode of The Art of coaching podcast. I am here with Dr. Katy milkman. Katy, welcome to the show.
Dr. Katy Milkman 3:16
Thank you. I’m so excited to be here. Thanks for having me. Hey,
Brett Bartholomew 3:19
it’s my pleasure. I know with your book coming out, which we’re definitely going to talk about and everything else. You are about to embark on a tremendous podcast tour. So for you to make some time is not something I take for granted.
Dr. Katy Milkman 3:30
Oh, it’s an absolute honor.
Brett Bartholomew 3:32
Well, listen, I want to endear you to our audience right away, because this is something that is not public knowledge. I mean, I dig and I try to find dirty little secrets on all of our guests you know, as a nice surprise, but this is one you were gracious enough to give me You do so much phenomenal work and the behavior change space, and you have an amazing career in academia. That is by and large, like just getting started. I’ve read a lot of your articles. I’m a deep appreciator of your work. But one thing that you don’t tell everybody is you have a background in sports and that you enjoy sports and you’re a nerd about sports performance in many respects, as well talk to me a little bit about your background as an athlete before we get into Dr. Milkman the researcher.
Dr. Katy Milkman 4:13
Yeah, well, and it’s funny because I’m sure we’ll talk about the many identities we walk around with and how they change throughout life. But my identity before I was a researcher was as an athlete, so I played Division One tennis, and you know, my childhood years, I spent a huge number of them training and thinking about how I could get better how I could outsmart my opponents how I could improve my performance and endurance. And so it’s really fun to have the opportunity to think about change with the behavioral science lens with talking about it with someone who focuses on sports.
Brett Bartholomew 4:46
Yeah, well, I mean, like his so I’m glad you brought it up because my life and so much of the life of our listeners is predicated on behavior change with athletes, you know, some of the best in the world if not at the absolute Zenith. Now on the other hand, we also have people that work with youth athletes, and they’re still there. Burning. But either way, whether it’s youth or Olympians, getting them to change is hard. You know, before we dive into the meat of everything here, just exploring your background as an athlete’s more, how did you take to coaching? How did you take to criticism? Where were areas that you felt like? No chance? I’m pretty good in this space? And where to, you know, talk about that a little bit?
Dr. Katy Milkman 5:19
Yeah, oh, my gosh, um, you know, I had coaches who I really clicked with, like one coach, specifically, his name is Bob pass, he was. So I started working with him when I was 10. And I worked with him until I was 18. And went off to college. And I think that the thing that made that coaching relationship work so well was that I just, I felt like he was sort of a parent figure, I completely trusted that he had my best interests at heart, I felt close to him, I felt heard and like, he really valued me as a person and wanted to see the best things happen to me. And so that was really important. And, you know, I tried other coaches and had other people I worked with, and finding someone who really felt like a mentor and a guide, and who I could admire in all walks of life. And trust has always been important. It’s funny, because when I came to academia, I’ve had some amazing mentors, too, it’s actually a very similar world where you need to have that close relationship with basically a sponsor, who helps make your advancement possible. In the academy, you have a dissertation advisor who’s all important, just like my coach was so critical in my childhood, and I found those same characteristics, someone who just 100% believes in you and who you respect and environmentally has been critically important. I actually write about both of my key coaches in the book. Bob gets a little time in the book and Max Bazerman, who was my dissertation advisor, and they had a lot of similar characteristics. So I feel lucky that I found coaches who were almost like, parents, in that sense,
Brett Bartholomew 6:51
yeah. And your book even starts off, I now understand the tennis reference in a completely different light. I love this story you talk about starting off with Andre Agassi. Right? And, before I get into that, I do have to say a deep appreciation for the fact that when you talked about your coach, so many of our listeners, you know, they feel like they have to have all these credentials and work with World Champions and what have you and have the perfect job to get buy in. And you mentioned the term you know, being bought in several times in your book. And really it sounds like to me that your coach what really improved that buy in with you was the quote unquote, soft stuff right? Like they listened to you they made you feel heard. They met you where you were at it wasn’t they tried to steer you towards their agenda. It was this partnership of give and take, am I hearing you correctly when you say that,
Dr. Katy Milkman 7:36
you’re absolutely hearing me correctly. And like the both of my the coaches who I mentioned, they had good credentials, but really, that wasn’t what made them so extraordinary. It was that they, one of the things I write about in my book is that I think my mentor in graduate school, one of the reasons he’s one of the most successful mentors in our whole field, is that he had this appreciation that if he believed in us and showed us how much he believed in us, he could boost our confidence and, he could make it possible for us to get further and he did really smart things like having us coach other more junior students, so that not only were we hearing advice, but we were giving advice. And we ended up learning a lot through those experiences and feeling that he believed we had what it took not only to achieve our goals, but to help other people who believed in achieve their’s. So that was a really important part of his philosophy.
Brett Bartholomew 8:31
Yeah, and within that, and I appreciate you going deeper in that space. Because when we think about what helps people overcome some of these barriers to change and your book, you go into such a great framework. And you admit, there are so many, and there’s so complex, but one thing that we know that kind of tugs in an interesting space, especially with you being in academia, and our listeners world of having to be so data driven as well with the human body and performance is despite the information we may give others or even their intellectual capacity, that information isn’t enough to always change that behavior, is it?
Dr. Katy Milkman 9:07
No, absolutely not. And I think you know, that was one of the most important things I discovered in my career is that, you know, early on when I was talking to folks, and I was just starting out trying to figure out how do we make change happen? What can I do from my background as a scientist to help I was talking to leaders and public health organizations and HR departments, and consistently hearing the same thing, you know, we’ve given people all the information, they still don’t sign up for the 401k that would set them on the path to success, even though they say they want to have a secure retirement, they still don’t quit smoking, even though they completely get that it’s terrible for them, they still didn’t go to the gym. So information is so frequently not the gap when we want to make an important change that I basically realized, like I need to pivot away from that and find the levers that that will really work on when information isn’t enough which is so often the case.
Brett Bartholomew 10:00
And it takes a while with that for people to be receptive to that. So getting into the intro of your book, and you started with Andre Agassi, which, by the way, I didn’t know you taught me something immediately that I didn’t know his father was a boxer. And I used to compete in Golden Gloves. And
Dr. Katy Milkman 10:15
I can’t believe you didn’t know that.
Brett Bartholomew 10:17
I didn’t know. Yeah, I didn’t know that. And I didn’t know that. And I was a strength coach for men’s and women’s tennis in the division one collegiate space. But what was fascinating and I want to paint this picture for the viewers, and then I want you to obviously it’s your book. But there’s this part where you know, when I fought Katie, one of my biggest weaknesses was similar to Augustine’s, you know, weakness in tennis. I didn’t know at first that every punch wasn’t supposed to be a knockout. I didn’t know the purpose of the jab was to set up the cross and this and that. And here you illustrated such a wonderful story of you have this guy who is tremendously skilled, right? Tremendously skilled has this image and this style. He’s the IT person in the sports world at the time, yet he’s not meeting expectations. He’s crumbling under that, yet he had the humility to go and ask a competitor for advice. Can you elaborate on that a little bit? So our listeners have an intro into that wonderful story? ,
Dr. Katy Milkman 11:09
Yeah, well actually, this is speaking of, you know, trust and mentors. It was really he had a manager who was an long time friend who pushed him to talk to Brad Gilbert when he was without a coach. His ranking was plummeting. And Agassi knew he needed some sort of change. If he was going to live up to his potential it wasn’t happening like his, you know, his competitors from juniors were soaring past him in the rankings courier Sampras, Chang people who everyone said, was better. So if those names aren’t familiar, because you’re not a tennis nerd that those are other famous players on the 90s and his manager, talk to man to sitting down with Brad Gilbert, who was an inelegant player, a scrappy player, a player who had just written a best selling book called Winning ugly, and literally was able to maintain rankings that were out of line with what anyone had ever expected of him, because he was such a brilliant strategist. And the pitch was could Agassi convinced Gilbert and actually, could Gilbert also convinced Agassi. Could they convince each other to work together? And what could Gilbert teach Agassi?
So they have this dinner that I write about that was I think, really momentous where Gilbert explains to Agassi his insight about what Agassi is doing wrong. And the Insight is pretty simple. He basically says, Look, you’re going out there and you’re focused on yourself. And you’re trying to hit winners on every shot. And you are giving up and huge advantage you could gain if you just thought about your opponent, and strategically tried to take advantage of their weaknesses. So don’t just play your game, play against your opponent, figure out how you can win by letting them lose. And this was I think, a really important change and key moment and Agassi’s career ended up hiring Gilbert went on to win the US Open later that year, even though he was unseated and have a career that, you know, is now legendary, where he was ranked number one in the world for over 100 weeks. That was, you know, there were still some ups and downs. But that was a major turning point when you realize the key to success in a sport was not to just go out and play blindly the best tennis he could. But to be really thoughtful and careful about figuring out what was going on with his opponent, how could he change his game? Strategically, it turns out that change generally, the science of change is actually very similar. Even though we don’t appreciate it. Often we try to use these sort of one size fits all universal sounds good strategies, like you know, set audacious goals and visualize success and those things sounds great. But it really depends on what the obstacle is just as you need to know who your opponent is across the tennis court, if they have a strong forehand backhand, if they’re weak when they bend or run for the ball, whatever it is that you need to pound and take advantage of in order to defeat them with the highest probability, you need to figure out what is your opponent in the battle to change? What is holding you back? Is it forgetting? Is it bad habits? Is it confidence is it that you too easily given to the temptation to do something that isn’t in your long term best interest, and whatever that thing is, that is what you need to work to change. And that’s sort of that’s really what my book is about. But the insight comes through, hopefully, in a fun way with the story of Agassi that, you know, tennis informed a lot of my insights about behavior change
Brett Bartholomew 14:36
without a doubt. And thank you for elaborating on that because our audience will relate to several pieces. Before I get into that. I do have to say I love the part where they talked about how he went. They didn’t have the beer that he wanted. So he went across the street and I was like, by the way, can you put this, in your fridge? And meanwhile, they’re just sitting here like Sure man I’ll put your beer in our fridge.
Dr. Katy Milkman 14:56
Brad Gilbert is a character and by the way I should make A plug also for Agassi’s amazing autobiography open, which, you know, tells this rich story with, you know, a different purpose until a different point. But that’s where I learned about this. And I saw in it immediately, the insight that’s sort of at the heart of my book, even though he was mostly telling his life story and trying to explain how you know how he progressed. But to me, it was like, wow, that is such a beautiful distillation of what holds us back and all kinds of change.
Brett Bartholomew 15:27
Well, and Well, I’m glad you put it into your book. And what I think our readers or listeners will relate to most is you did a great job of using local and global examples, a lot of books on behavior change, or a lot of research on behavior change. It’s very easy. And by the way, we should focus on these things. I’m not saying we shouldn’t, but it’s always easy to look at the big things like obesity and smoking and 401k. And what have you, we have to, but a lot of times issues with change happen internally, like we see this in coaching, coaches are very good at telling other people to change. But you know, one stat that I talk about frequently is out of 256, Coach development workshops, only 6% Focus on interpersonal skills. And so as part of my doctoral research, we try to focus on why are coaches not going and learning how to be more skillful at interacting. And it might humor you to know that many of them say, Well, I coach for a living, I’m communicating all the time. And I always say, Well, I’m married, that doesn’t make me a better spouse. But we find this that they don’t want to change. And the literature suggests, well, you know, a lot of times our jobs are on the line. You know, I think I have this statistic. If you look at in 2012, there’s research showing that teams in the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA the average tenure is 2.9 years, 2.0 years, two years, 1.4 years and 1.3. So a lot of coaches just feel like well, I’ve got to invest in technical stuff and tactical stuff, because I can show this, then if we win, I can point and say no, this was the tool. But all this to say you did a wonderful job of talking about sometimes our issue with changes ourself. It’s that blind spot that Agassi had, but he was able to go and say I’m going to drop my pride, I’m going to talk to a would be competitor and he was a competitor, and they’re gonna help me grow. Why do you think it is that sometimes we and maybe even you, you feel free to use an example of your life? Where you know, like, yeah, I got a blind spot. But I don’t know if I really want to dive into that right now.
Dr. Katy Milkman 17:19
Oh, my gosh, yeah. So often. And I mean, one thing that’s hard about human nature is that we have fragile egos. And so recognizing our limits, and acknowledging them is threatening, right, it feels bad. So it’s a hard thing to do. But when we do, it’s so powerful, because, you know, patching those weaknesses. It’s really, you know, it’s what separates the good from the Great,
Brett Bartholomew 17:47
yeah, ya know, and that’s why winning uglier is such a great, you have to improvise. And then you get addicted to the messiness. So, you know, given this and this is me, giving you a hard time a little bit to bring some levity. You’ve been able to collaborate with some of the world’s best economists, psychologists, computer scientists and doctors with respect to behavior change. I want to know why not coaches, you know, and then you’ve also had not only your widely published, but I remember the first time I heard you was on Freakonomics. And this was several years ago, I was on an international flight. And you had a huge project going on there. I believe it’s still ongoing. The one with Angela Duckworth, correct.
Dr. Katy Milkman 18:22
It’s still ongoing. Yeah, we’ve, it’s growing and growing.
Brett Bartholomew 18:26
And so how do you battle from somebody that’s put so much value out in the world, and you’ve had great platforms recognize your value and help you to promulgate that? How do you deal with the internal stress of saying, Man, we still deal with some of these, like the informations out there, this stuff’s out there. Maybe the needle has moved to a point where you’d like to see it, I’m sure you’d like it to be much more. How do you handle that level of I don’t want to say disappointment, because that’s not the right term. But that level of desire to see it grow, and just the slow, painful nature of people being like, No, it’s not easy enough yet. Do you struggle with that at all? Or do you just keep your head down and keep plugging away?
Dr. Katy Milkman 19:06
You know, it’s funny, you know, we started by talking about my background in sports, I will just say, I think that the thing that has best prepared me for this work in so many ways, is having played so many tough matches and lost so frequently, that I know failure is just a part of any adventure. And I know how to deal with it from having faced it so many times starting at such a young age, and you know, it feels so crushing to lose a match to your rival when you’re 11 years old, and you feel like your life is on the line. Now that I’m a 39 year old professor and I write a paper and science rejects it or you know, I run an experiment and the hypothesis doesn’t hold up. It isn’t something I have that much trouble dealing with. It’s just you know, take it in stride, you recognize you win some you lose some and you get right back up and keep plugging forward. And hopefully it’s you know, two steps forward for everyone step back. So I think that thick skin from sports has been really valuable as an academic, trying to solve tough problems where, frankly, we, there is no magic single solution. We’re making small steps forward. It’s been exciting, all the things that we have discovered in the last 20 years since I started working in this field. But, you know, honestly, it would also be a little bit boring if we had solved it, like what I do with the rest of my life. so the challenge continues, just like in sports, right? You got it, there’s another, game to play the next day. And there’s more progress to make.
Brett Bartholomew 20:31
Yeah, I think that’s very well stated, whenever somebody comes to me, and they say, Hey, I’m having trouble getting an athlete or an individual or a GM to buy in, you know, what’s going on, this has caused me a lot of problems. I’m like, listen, like, that’s a great problem to solve. You know, these are things that you need to be prepared for. But there’s this deep lie that a lot of coaches are told, and just professionals in general, right, like, just learn the trade craft, and you know, then get a job and you’re gonna be good, and they’re not astute, or, you know, it’s this micro political stuff, that they’re not learning. And that’s what’s gonna make this stuff, you know, if you want to go at the highest level, you’re gonna get, you’re gonna have to get your hands dirty. You know, when you talk about this. And now getting into the core really, of your book, one thing I was surprised to learn is, with so much of our life, being around us having to make sense of moments, right? Whether it’s a notable failure stuff that you experienced in your athletic career, or you’re a mother, if I’m correct, right? Yes, I met your mother. So like, we have these moments that we have to make sense of it was surprising to me to figure out that your fresh start concept as you’ve labeled, it, hadn’t really received much attention in the literature. Did that surprise you at all this idea of, you know, this Fresh Start New Year’s resolutions, Easter, all these things that pick your religion, as you said before, and there’s something that indicates a fresh start or New Year? Like if we take a new job, anything like that? Why do you think this stuff had been neglected in the literature for so long?
Dr. Katy Milkman 21:59
It’s a it’s such a good question. I mean, I think one of the really interesting things about science is that, you know, there’s some vision of it as like linearly progressing, but in reality, it’s just like a bunch of brains and coincidences that spark an idea. And you end up with blind spots, because there isn’t a more systematic approach to filling in the gaps. And I think I was lucky to be at this event. About a decade ago at Google, where I got asked a question that made me realize there was this giant gap, an HR leader, or Google said, okay, like, I’m totally sold, that we should be doing more to nudge people to make change in their lives. And I’m just wondering, like, is there a good time, Katie, when we should be doing it? Like, is there some optimal time to encourage change? And like a light bulb went off? Like, whoa, what a great question. this hasn’t been studied before. And it led my team down this incredibly fruitful path of studying these moments, these fresh starts that give us the sense that we’re beginning a new chapter in our lives and turn out to really motivate change, because we feel like you know, when identity has been shed, like the old me is sort of behind me and whatever, they goofed on whatever mistakes they made. That’s the old me and the new me, is going to be able to nail this. And so there’s that opportunity, that optimism that we can build on and also the sense that when we start something new when we face a new beginning, as small as the beginning of a week, as big as you know, being traded to a new baseball team, which is by the way, one of the topics my former student, Hank Tendai has studied and how that can serve as a fresh start. Whatever it is, that shakes things up, and gives us that new start. It also leads us to step back think big picture about our goals. And we’re able to do more when we have that sort of clean slate feeling.
Brett Bartholomew 23:47
Hey, it’s Brett here. I hope you’re enjoying the episode. Listen, if you’ve found a number of these conversations on the podcast to be especially interesting to you, or somebody you know, be sure to go to artofcoaching.com/channels. Again, that’s artofcoaching.com/channels to check out our all access group. It’s brand new, and it’s a place where myself and professionals from all over the world have collaborative discussions on how to solve many everyday problems we face in life, our work and our own professional development. It does not matter where in the world you are. And this is a very easy way to engage in discussion with me directly, my team and other professionals every single week. Again, that’s artofcoaching.com/channels artofcoaching.com/channels. I can’t wait to be able to speak with you.
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Dr. Katy Milkman 25:51
Whatever it is that shakes things up and gives us that new start. It also leads us to step back think big picture about our goals. And and we’re able to do more when we have that sort of clean slate feeling.
Brett Bartholomew 26:03
You’re our ideal guest on this podcast because of something you just did you have so many anchor points and I want to dive into that it then becomes a challenge for me as the host to say, Okay, I want to make sure she feel heard she feels heard there. And we dive into that. But also this I’m gonna work with me as I try to structure this next question in conjunction with what you mentioned, you talked about Google Now, everybody tends to think about their issues as Oh, Surely nobody deals with this, or I’m not at a high enough level or if I just made it to this company or this organization. Right? Right. We all have this imposter phenomenon. And also this kind of bias that these problems are very uniquely our own. And then you have Google, which you speak about in your book, listen, you have access to world class restaurants, you have all these amenities, you have a wonderful match program, you have so much autonomy within what you do. And still at the very base level, they struggled to get people to use half the damn things, you know, it’s like people wouldn’t be they won’t even do the 401 K. And that’s something as old as time. It’s like, Hey, we’ve got to do it. It’s a match. It’s just, and then I think within that what I’m asking is one, you know, what do people need to understand about the fact that this occurs everywhere? It’s not just you, and that two. And you mentioned this in your book as well. It’s not as easy as gamifying or making it a default, there is a timing issue, which is not something we’re always told, feel free to take that where you will, and then I’ll build off of that with the next question.
Dr. Katy Milkman 27:32
Well, I don’t know about for you, Brett. But for me, I actually found it really, to be a relief. I just discovered that. Like, it’s not me, it’s everyone’s problem. right, like, and I think, if you, especially when you’re young, you look around, right. It’s like the classic kid looking up and thinking their parents have it all figured out. And then you get older, you’re like, oh, wait they didn’t, I actually think it’s a relief to discover that everyone else is struggling, confused, too. And these are universal things. And the nice thing about that mean is that it means if they’re kind of universal, that we can study them, and science can make progress on figuring out, okay, if most you know, if lots of people struggle, just like I do to work out, you know, the energy and motivation to go to the gym at the end of a long day, or to set aside the time to organize their finances, or you know, whatever goal it is to learn the foreign language and actually get on Duolingo every night, whatever it is that they’re trying to achieve. If it’s common, it’s a little easier to feel like maybe I can find solutions by talking to people I know who’ve been through this too. And then science can offer more because we can look and explore, like what universally can be helpful with each of these different barriers.
Brett Bartholomew 28:46
Yeah, couldn’t agree more. One area that I’m almost embarrassed to admit on air is when I self published my first book, and that was a messy process. And I remember talking to the first literary agent, and I’ve mentioned this before on the podcast, but he said, Well, who are you? And what field are you in? And I said, Well, I’m in sports performance, you know, technically, my title is a strength and conditioning coach, and he goes, Yes, sorry. Somebody in the gym isn’t as marketable as and he literally mentioned, like, you know, an academic or a military leader and what have you. And so I remember like, I got off the phone and like 30 I got on the phone filled with hope freshstart We’re going to talk to a literary agent I got destroyed the guy didn’t even give me a moment to like, you know, talk about anything. And I remember you know, we sell publish our own book, by the grace of God became a best seller. And then you know, somebody was like, well, you should do this on Audible. Why to do all that myself. I had another friend that wrote a New York Times best seller, large publisher had a lot of help, you know, and I said, Man, You’ve got it good dude. Like I had to hire this. I had to contract this. I had to do this. And he goes, bro, the book that you can buy right now is not the book I wrote. He goes out publisher change it, it did this and he’s like, yes, there are some great things about it. But understand and that was total naivete on my end. I’m thinking what was me this situation It was hard, you know, I’m just perceived as this kind of thing. And, and ironically, then my book sold more than his. And I was like, I just felt like a jerk. I felt like a jerk about complaining about something. Everybody’s got these issues at the highest level, everybody. Another thing I appreciated about everything you talked about is the importance of timing. Going back to athletes for a moment, we have to cue athletes at critical periods, just like, you know, the when you give advice to folks that matters, like, you know, if we try to pair up some kind of goal, or an aspirational behavior, and it’s mismatch with, as you talked about, in your literature, a temporal landmark, there’s gonna be incongruency. And then you evaluate, and you’re like, what was it the proposed change? Was it the audience? Was it the timing? What did you find as you started to dive into the research on the timing aspect in these temporal landmarks a little bit more that maybe surprise you?
Dr. Katy Milkman 30:51
Yeah, well, one of the things that was really interesting, and this is research, in my former PhD student, Hank Gendai, who’s now a professor at UCLA, it was in her dissertation work, she discovered that, while these fresh start moments are, as I’ve already described, great opportunities for us to pursue positive change, they can also have an ugly underbelly. And actually, specifically, I mentioned briefly, she did a study of baseball players. And that’s where she was able to look at this. So she looked at baseball players who were treated to a new team, which is a major fresh start. And she looked at actually two types of trades, cross league trades, where all of your season to date statistics are reset. So you literally have a clean slate when it comes to performance tracking, and those who were treated within lead. So you know, they’re also moving to a new city moving to a new team, new teammates, new coach, but they get to hold on to their track record just keeps on ticking. And what she found both groups, she sees sort of a fresh start if the classic Fresh Start effect, meaning the disruption changes what’s going on, I’ll say more about how in a moment, it’s bigger for the folks who experienced the bigger reset. So they’re traded across leagues, and they have more change going on. But here’s what’s really interesting. So for the players who were performing really well, they were having extraordinarily good seasons, the trade across leagues is harmful. And it’s particularly harmful for the ones who have the reset. So it seems like not only can we see fresh starts help when the players who aren’t performing very well, the resets great, they start, you know, kicking it up, and they’ve got the Clean Slate Fresh Start new routines, I’m going to do better, but the ones who’ve been on a roll that disruption is harmful. And so I think that’s actually a really important part of fresh starts. And we’re talking right now at the end of a period that’s been very unusual for many people, right, this COVID era, where a lot of us are about to, you know, a lot of athletes are still getting thankfully right now to practice in person. But a lot of people are about to return the offices and schools that have been long shuttered. And we’re going to experience this sort of a reset and, fresh start. And it can be great for the habits that we’re not pleased with that we want to put in a better mood. But anything that’s going well is going to be disrupted. So if you’ve got like a great workout routine going or a work from home thing, that’s really you’ve got a pattern, you’re gonna lose that. And you’re gonna have to be actually really deliberate in order to build positive new behaviors and positive change. So I do think it’s an important thing to keep in mind about temporal landmarks and fresh starts of all kinds that while they give us that opportunity, because we have this clean slate, we have a disruption to whatever we’ve been going about doing either purely psychologically, like if it’s Monday, or in an absolute sense, if you’re like moving to a new place, or going into an office you haven’t seen in a year. That disruption isn’t always good. If you’re doing well.
Brett Bartholomew 33:46
Yeah, I’m very happy brought that up this stress of fresh starts. And the jerseys behind me, there’s one athlete that just after 11 years in the NFL, he’s having his own fresh start. Now he retired, there’s another one that just signed a two year deal with a new team. Now you would think he’d be happy in the NFL, he’s far surpassed the league minimum or the league average, rather of how long somebody stays in the league. And I asked him about that. I said, Are you excited because he’s going to a team that has a tremendous history of winning the winning us if not one of the most winningest organizations in all of sport. And he said, Well, here’s the tricky thing. He goes, Yes, I’m excited. But there’s so much ambiguity about when we’re starting up mini camp. He goes, I don’t know the system. I’m going into, you know, he had been traded to a good team before. And then the position coach that he had, even though the team was solid, the position coach was not, you know, and he’s like, I can’t relate to him. He doesn’t give me much coaching. And so there’s so many meta categories and subcategories of these fresh starts. It’s not always apples to oranges, that’s fruit that can be compared sometimes it’s apples, the anchovies, you know, and I even think about this myself have, you know, there are certain times of the year where I no longer train athletes as part of my work evolving and doing what I’m doing. My doctorate and a new book is taking a tremendous amount of time right now. Add, you know, usually when I have that fresh start and guys are coming back to prepare for the offseason I feel renewed right to your point and much of your literature and your wonderful book. But this year, I kind of felt stressed. And I remember my wife said, what’s wrong? And I go, Well, I know that I love coaching these guys, that’s not the problem. The problem is the impending anxiety I have that it’s still time for my day that’s taking apart from this work. And I don’t have those researchers, I don’t have a lot of research assistants to really help. It’s all on me. And then when I’m done with them, I’ve kind of scratched that coaching edge. Great. It’s brought renewed perspective to my work, my writing and other stuff tends to be better. But it is this mix of emotions. It’s not always Hey, fresh start. Things are great. Anything you want to add to that.
Dr. Katy Milkman 35:43
Yeah, no, I totally agree. I think it’s really interesting to hear you talk about the player who’s experiencing some anxiety about going to this fabulous new team, I would say I think, you know, and I do not have data to back this up, I would like to have data to back it up. So I’m gonna throw out a hypothesis here that I would love to test. But I do think that some awareness of the disruption that’s coming and deliberate planning related to okay, what were the things that were working well, in the last organization or within the last team, we know that these disruptions for baseball players are leading to worse performance for the ones who are on a roll. I wonder if I could have whispered in their ear and said like, this is coming, here’s the risk that you face and gotten them to be really deliberate write down what is working so well, right now, what are the routines you don’t want to allow to go off track, and then make a plan for how you’ll maintain them, if that might actually be effective. Most people, you know, go into these fresh starts and these disruptions kind of blind and just like roll with the punches. But I do know, there’s a lot of research on how powerful it can be to make really concrete plans about how you are going to achieve whatever it is you set out to achieve. So I wonder if we could plan for that disruption, recognize what is about to be thrown off and try to prevent it from happening? If there might be better outcomes?
Brett Bartholomew 36:56
Yeah, I think you can. And this is where our worlds collide a little bit, because one on a very small level, and then I’ll go larger with it, we find that when it comes to ratings of perceived exertion, when we put an athlete through a certain protocol, right, and this could be can what we call energy system development, or let’s think of layman’s term cardio, right? If they have a certain conditioning protocol they’ve got to do or even a heavy or strenuous weight training session, if we let them know, hey, you know, this is a session that’s going to be pretty brutal today, or this is going to be very challenging, we actually see their subsequent ratings of that the difficulty of this session was lower. They’re like, Well, no, I didn’t think it was as hard as you said. And we know this a little bit intuitively, because if somebody says, Katy, I just saw the funniest movie, you’ve got to see this Well, now, in general, you’re kind of poisoning the well, you know, because they’re like,
Dr. Katy Milkman 37:42
Totally. The power of our expectations is so rare. And I love that you’re going there, because it’s another thing i wrote a bit about and sort of like very closely related to the placebo effect, which everybody’s familiar with in medicine, where you expect a sugar pill to produce some benefit for you medically and magically, like, it actually does for 60 to 90% of medical conditions, if you give someone a sugar pill, they think it was prescribed by a doctor to help them it does. Like, you know, just amazing stuff. So what we believe has these huge implications for what we experience, how we behave, how we perform. And so I really love the the connection there to what you’re saying about you know, I prepare you for a strenuous workout, you’re mentally expecting it, and then you can really take it on. Whereas if I prepare you and your you believe it’s going to be easy, and then I overwhelm you, it can be a bad
Brett Bartholomew 38:30
100%. And I think even more fact, we’ve got to talk offline about this, we’re just going through some research, because so much of what we do is on communication. So you mentioned the placebo effect. There’s great community, there’s great research in the medical world talking about when oncologists present information to their patients, right. And they’re evaluated on a combination of warmth plus competence, right? And just having an interaction that is considered more warmth. And the empirical definition is relative to that study, right? They find that acted almost like a placebo effect to patients then rated their treatment in the precede in the subsequent weeks is saying, hey, this was more effective, you know, and they compare that with doctors that came and gave them a lot of jargon and you know, intensive nomenclature that you know, or even just didn’t remember their name, maybe didn’t use their name Katy, right, like didn’t say these things. And so we’re even finding the warmth of our interactions, you know, which we know inherently from marketing literature and imagery and what have you. But it is fascinating that it can still have that physiological effect of it showed that in enhanced recovery from intensive cancer treatment. So you know, all these things and within that, you talking about the adjacent possible saying, Hey, you’re gonna get traded. And inherently these are some things that are going to happen and you hear it every day. Come hang out with us anytime. Yesterday, that conversation was I don’t know where to live yet. the NFLPA hasn’t even figured out what they’re doing negotiations wise. They’re telling us to boycott and it’s one week out he goes, I just got traded if I boycott then I go into this team with you know, a situation that’s not ideal. That’s not how you want to be thought of when somebody just paid you millions of dollars. He goes, I want to be a part of the team. But we also need to do what’s ethical and responsible given the nature of the restrictions. And so not one bit of our conversation that day was about sports performance. It was about the external stressors he felt related to this, even when these teams have people that help them manage that.
Dr. Katy Milkman 40:19
Yeah, no, I mean, just going back to how important these internal barriers are. And when we recognize what we’re up against, we can do so much more to make progress.
Brett Bartholomew 40:28
So talk to me about this. And in your book, you also mentioned in shifting gears a little bit outside of sports performance, I believe it was 2002. And I apologize if I don’t pronounce the name correctly. Omar on Daya, the president of Green Bank in the Philippines and I pronounce his name correctly.
Dr. Katy Milkman 40:42
You did? Yeah. You nailed it.
Brett Bartholomew 40:44
Okay, cool, struggled to get people to surprise, save more money, right. And you had a wonderful statistic in there. And you said, like, listen, getting people to do this as hard even in the US, only one in three families. And this is in 2015 had any money saved whatsoever? Can you elaborate on some of the problems they were having and how you help them approach this kind of issue?
Dr. Katy Milkman 41:07
Yeah, well, first, I should say, you know, this, I think this is a really fascinating case study. I actually wasn’t involved in the original research. I’m just a huge admirer of it. Dean Carlin, Navarre, Shroff, and Wesleyan are three brilliant economists who got involved with when they saw this challenge, they were really interested in how to help encourage people to save more they recognize one of the big challenges with saving is that people, you know, they mean to set something aside, they even put it in the bank, but then something comes up, you know, a birthday, holiday, you know, some exciting opportunity, and they dip into that savings. And sure enough, you know, and then it’s gone. There’s just a lot of leakage. And people recognize that as a problem. But they are too tempted to dip in when these opportunities arise, and they can’t maintain balances that accumulate. So what they came up with and worked with Green Bank to test was a different kind of account. And the account was just like a standard savings account where you put your money in and earns the same interest rate as everything else. But you’re not allowed to take your money out of it once you’ve put it in until you’ve reached a predetermined savings goal, or predetermined date. So it’s like a financial chastity belt, like, just you can’t take it out. And it turns out, you know, not everyone wanted this. But they offered it to a random sample of several 100 customers, and encourage them, Hey, do you want to try this new account. And also they had access to the old fashioned account with the same interest rate. And then another group was just offered the old fashioned account where there’s no financial chastity belt around. And what they found is that the group that had access to these commitment accounts saved 80% More than others year over year, and that’s with only 30%. Even using them, they this group still saved 80% more total, just just an enormous and
Brett Bartholomew 42:56
tremendous, especially compound interest, all this stuff that oh, that math is astronomical.
Dr. Katy Milkman 43:01
It’s amazing. And and I think, you know, it highlights the power of, of commitments of basically, voluntarily, when you recognize a temptation is coming, we can do things to actually constrain ourselves and our future behavior so that we’ll make better decisions. And the like, classic example of this from literature that people might have heard of is Ulysses, tying himself to the mast and the Odyssey to avoid, you know, giving into the temptation to steer a ship off course towards the island with sirens. were singing sweetly. \
Brett Bartholomew 43:34
Dr. Katy Milkman 43:34
But yeah, exactly. So he realizes this is coming, and he has himself bound to the mass. So we won’t be able to redirect a ship and everyone who’s rowing, plugs their ears with wax. So that’s like the classic example. But you can also do it with your savings account. And you can do it with any goal. One of my favorite ways of doing this is with cash commitment accounts. So there’s a couple of different websites you can use. stick.com is one Beeminder is another I’m sure there are more where you can go put money on the line, that you say, hey, take my money from my account. If I fail to achieve goal X goal x, it might it’s a little weird to do it. Think about doing it with savings. Think about doing it. You know how many times you want to work out a week or you know how many times you want to have meetings with your trainer each week
Brett Bartholomew 44:17
without a doubt.
Dr. Katy Milkman 44:18
Right? Okay. So whatever that is, you put the money on the line, you declare a referee, who will hold you accountable, and then the money goes away. So you’re finding your future self for not achieving your goals. And if you make those goals, bite size and are weekly and doable, this kind of technique basically increases the price of your device. And it’s been shown really effective. So smokers who have access to these kinds of accounts are 30% more likely to be able to quit, for instance, the other smokers who have access only to sort of standard ways of trying to motivate themselves to quit smoking. That’s one of my favorite examples. But so if we can think about we’re used to other people setting up penalties and constraints for us. Like that’s very natural. But when we know ourselves and know what kinds of temptations we might fall prey to, we can set them up for ourselves too. And you know who better to set constraints? And you you, there’s only been a backlash?
Brett Bartholomew 45:14
No, no. Yeah. I think that’s there’s a great example there. And by the way, you mentioned the price of your device. That’s the name your next book, the price of your device? That’s phenomenal. No, yeah. And when you talked about, you mentioned constraints. Now, I think I counted it five times. So I have to go here. And it talks about the adjacent possible that we were kind of getting into and you setting your own constraints, an area that we found this is so we teach workshops that are all about utilizing improv for leadership development, right, getting people reps in types of interactions that they may or may not have. But inevitably, we typically don’t rehearse or refined for some of life’s biggest moments, right? And these interactions can cost us dearly. And so what I found early on when we were doing this, because this was what was tied to my research, and it complements, what you’re saying is when we gave people certain constraints, they were creating an improper role playing activity, there tended to be a little bit more reticence, right? Like, oh, well, this would never happen, or I don’t understand. And I don’t know, and they’re nervous. So what we started doing is saying we give them almost a template, and we said, Okay, you create the constraints, there’s roles, rules, and or in the rules was, you know, just, that was our layman term for saying constraints, rules, roles and more context. So the roles were like, Hey, who are you in the context of this scene? Are you a coach and athlete? Are you a researcher and and a prominent CEO? What have you what are the constraints? Oh, I can only ask questions. My tonality has to be off the charts, right, which inevitably could change the perception of the interaction. And then where’s the environment? And we noticed that people got more way more engaged in taking control of their experience at the workshop, instead of hiding in the background, they now felt all fail, but I’ll fail on my terms. Does that make sense? Or is that just does that sound odd?
Dr. Katy Milkman 46:57
I love that. No, it makes so much sense. And in general, you know, I think we under appreciate how much more people will achieve when we give them more autonomy, and more of an opportunity to take charge of how decisions will play out. And I mentioned earlier how powerful it can be to actually put people in the role of advice giver, when they’re used to just getting advice I talked about my mentor, who like had his more senior students coached more junior students, I think it’s actually a really related concept. And we’ve shown in our research that when you put someone in the role of advisor, so they’re like, they’re the one coaching, they’re the ones setting up the situation that they dredge up insights about themselves, they wouldn’t have otherwise are more bought in They’re more likely to achieve their goals. And I love that you’re sort of using autonomy in that creative way.
Brett Bartholomew 47:46
Yeah, well, I’m glad that I’m not insane. Because I always wonder it’s always nice to be around people that value the messiness of this because you ideate, right, you get this idea of like, alright, this hypothesis seems to be working. Now, how do I generate data off this and what have you, it brings in something we talked about off air, there’s sometimes people that have a reticence to change. Now, a lot of the people that seek you out, they’re smart enough and open enough. And I would say, you know, in this growth mindset place to they say, Hey, I don’t need to be sick to get better. I’d like to change. And I’d love your advice. That said, I mean, you have worked with an incredible retinue of individuals, right? Like, do you ever find that, you know, for that door to open? And I of course, there’s third party introductions and what have you? Do you ever find that for the initial interaction before you can even get to the meat of helping them understand their problem that you over you encounter some of these barriers to getting them to one say, Hey, doctor, Milkman is the one that we need here. She has researched, it’s fascinating, or is that become kind of automatic, given your status at Wharton and the folks that have written testimonials for your book? You know, talk to me about any barriers you feel they’re still
Dr. Katy Milkman 48:55
I think, actually one of the biggest barriers is that often when I talk to organizations where I want to test a new idea, there’s so much eagerness to just take the idea because they like it, and apply it and actually the barriers testing. So that’s a big challenge, I’ve always found is convincing organizations like, you don’t know how many times I thought I knew the right answer, but I was wrong.
Brett Bartholomew 49:21
Right. So start slow.
Dr. Katy Milkman 49:23
I might give you bad advice, and then you’re gonna make things worse. So I’ll give you an example. We already talked about one saving study. And anyway, but I’m gonna give you one other which is, we had a an organization that wanted to encourage more 401k savings. And, you know, it’s a common problem I get a lot of 401k calls.
Brett Bartholomew 49:40
Yeah, hey, whatever works,
Dr. Katy Milkman 49:41
problem, I study behavior change, people’s lives will be a lot better saving. So we said, you know, like, there’s a lot of science showing that if you tell people everybody else is doing it. They’re more likely to jump on the bandwagon because they’re like, Oh, well, you know, that’s everybody else is doing I can probably figure it out. too, I should probably do this thing too, right? I don’t want to be the odd man or woman out. So we said, why don’t we test that with 401 Ks. And see if we tell people, you know most of your colleagues are saving, which was true at this organization was just a small minority who weren’t, if that would increase enrollment, and we luckily, were able to convince them to do an experiment. And what we found was exactly the opposite of what we’d expected. So first, we tested it just telling you, everybody else is doing it increase your likelihood to save and it backfired, it reduced your likelihood to say, second, we tested the number we showed you. So how large the majority was that we’re saving, we did this by either comparing you with people in your five year age group or your 10 year age group. So we got that variation in the exact number of your peers who are saving. And we saw that the higher the number we showed you, the less likely you were to save. So like a double backfire effect. If we hadn’t tested it, this company would have implemented because if this is a great idea, you there’s lots of research showing this works. But in this particular environment, what we discovered the numbers were really high, they were surprisingly high it seemed and what we think happened, I still don’t know the answer, for sure, to be honest. But what we think sort of piecing together the puzzle pieces and giving it our best guess, with what we know is that it was actually demotivating on this large cumulative goal to see everybody else was already way out in front of you. And people felt like you know, it’s too far away. It’s not like something where it can just change. And tomorrow, I’ll have enough for retirement, like if the Joneses are already invested in that nest egg, like, just, I’m so far behind, it’s hopeless, and they sort of throw up their hands. So a big, and we see that this is the biggest the backfire effect is biggest for the lowest earners. So a big takeaway from that, for me was like one, I’m so glad we convinced this company to test because so many organizations, I really have trouble convincing them. Don’t just take an idea that sounds good. Let’s see, let’s AV tests before we break something that’s and make it worse. And two, you know, that was a really important insight about when we want to use social norms and encourage people to achieve more based on seeing others who are achieving what it needs to be not too much of a stretch, like it needs to be someone and a goal that you can see yourself achieving in the near term, or else that can actually be a turn off.
Brett Bartholomew 52:16
I think that’s a great example. Especially because, you know, we always hear about this idea of hyperbolic discounting. And then we hear about social proof, we hear about
Dr. Katy Milkman 52:24
you always hear about the idea of hyperbolic discounting, because that makes me really happy. But I do not feel like that as
Brett Bartholomew 52:29
well. It’s something that I feel like and again, I’m biased because of my research and the stuff we live in this kind of behavior change world as well. And I just feel like there’s been so much kind of talked about with this, Hey, like, you know, I’m gonna go for that. Let me be frank, and this won’t make my listeners happy. We see it even when we market our products. So we’ll put out a course and we’ll hit our newsletter and say, Hey, there’s this course. And there was one before COVID that we put out to help coaches create something lateral for themselves. Because coaching, I mean, the majority of coaches, even when they have master’s degrees, they make less than $40,000. And that’s nothing to scoff at. But as the point is, is they don’t just make that the ceiling is not much higher, you have kind of feast and famine and coaching. So you can make, somebody can make several $100,000. Or somebody can be stuck in a restricted earnings position where they’re making 18 to 25. And they might have two degrees to their name and tons of experience or what have you. So we said well, why don’t we put something out that helps coaches because there’s no governing body that teaches them financial planning, financial management, anything about contracts, some of these coaches are signing contracts, that they have no concept of that if they create intellectual property of some kind of this place, it’s no longer theirs, that they have no idea what they’re signing. So we created a course all about that just like hey, you periodized which is just our fancy term for planning, you plan your athletes training programs, do the same for your career. And, you know, this was something I was brought up with just because my father was a financial adviser. He always said, Hey, protect your backside, not a doomsday prepper but protect the backside, the upside will take care of itself. He was broke, right. And my family encountered a lot of interesting things. I was hospitalized at a young age, my brother was stabbed, you know, like, we have this thing of like, you’ve got to be positive and have a positive outlook about the future but still be pragmatic. Okay. So what we found is initially when we released this, like, Yeah, our core audience, they gravitated to it, they loved it. But it was kind of like, you know, if James Cameron released a movie that was supposed to be this blockbuster based on the data that he collected, and audience wants, desires and needs, which we did, we had over 1000 responses, and it just kind of was ho hum, it did. Okay, we were happy, but oh hum. So we sent out some non buyers surveys. We figured this out people, you know, what they said and going back to hyperbolic discounting is, well, you know, I just think I need to focus on the now like, I need to just keep my head down. I need to keep grinding. I need to be grateful for what I have. It’s not as bad as I thought. And then COVID happened. And within four months, we all of a sudden tried to get an alert on her phone and sales skyrocketed. And one of my friends said, You should be happy I go, I’m not, right, because I don’t want something like this talk about timing. I don’t want something like this to happen for somebody to utilize a product that was meant to be proactive in nature. And we just saw I mean, hyperbolic discounting, especially with folks in education and coaching, because they don’t want to be expected. They don’t want to be needy, they don’t want these. They want to just, hey, I’m happy with what I have. And I’m grateful. But that can have a vice talk about the price of your vice. Does that am I way off? Is that a horrible example?
Dr. Katy Milkman 55:34
No, it’s a fabulous example. I love it. I mean, it is, you’re right. Like, you don’t want to have to solve a problem, you want to prevent the problem from arising. And it sounds like you know, with COVID, it was a wake up call for all of us, for everyone who didn’t have emergency savings for everyone who didn’t have a backup plan. And ideally, we would help people so that they were in a good position, when that moment comes instead of having them panic and realize they need to put themselves in a good position now.
Brett Bartholomew 56:02
So I want to honor your time. And the thing that I need our listeners to understand about your book. And I want to ask you about memory places, we could talk for two, two hours about some of the stuff you put in here. But I just have to share deep admiration. I’ve read a lot of behavior change books in the last 10 years, a lot of ones that have made a lot of bestseller lists, they’re interesting, they have stories, but at the end of the day, I’m like, What do I do? I love that you at the end of it said, Hey, here’s the stories, here’s the research. But here’s what you can do. Here are the five bullet points that you can take away from, here’s the things that you can create from this. If there’s one thing that you feel like you haven’t been able to get across, or maybe somebody hasn’t asked you about your book, and the important thing it touches on for people learning how to change. What is that or what made you structure the book in that way, what frustrated you about prior work in this space, aside from people just not focusing on the fresh start? What like, talk to me about the architecture of this and gives you hope that yeah, this will help people change.
Dr. Katy Milkman 57:00
There’s two things I hope that readers will really take away from this. The first is clarity that there’s not a one size fits all solution, it really depends on what’s holding you back. And sometimes there’s multiple things holding you back, but that spending a little time to figure out what is the obstacle and then match the solution to that obstacle can help you get a lot further faster. And then the second thing is that it’s not like a one and done. And it’s not easy. It’s going to be there’s going to be setbacks, and it’s gonna be important to recognize that none of this miraculously goes away. It’s not like if you read the book and apply the principles for a month, you’ll have changed forevermore, that isn’t there is no magic to it. Because the features of human nature that make change hard will keep working against us. That doesn’t mean it has to be painful. A lot of the solutions are, I think, actually really wonderful. Like making it more fun to accomplish your goals is one of the most important things you can do. For instance, that’s not painful to do forever. But it needs to be like the mindset should be. If you’re committed to change, that it isn’t a quick fix. And that it’s probably a constellation of things. And what works for the in the short term may not be the same thing you need a year from now, because you may be facing different obstacles as you advance. So I hope the book provides really all the best science out there so that it’s no longer sort of Guru ism, but rather evidence that can guide you on your path to change.
Brett Bartholomew 58:28
Yeah, the not one size fits all party is huge, because that’s what frustrates me with people that digest this material. And what they’re looking for is the answer to questions like I mean, I get it all the time. Hey, What books should I read? What should I what grad assistant job should I take? What should I go to this or that? And I’m like, Yeah, I mean, it’s the ugly, it depends answer. You know, it depends. And if they can pick up your book, and understand the Getting Started problem, the impulsivity problem, the procrastination problem, the forgetting problem, the laziness problem, all the aspects that your chapters uncover, and say, okay, Katy says this, let me orient this into my life, my messy reality, and let me find the right fit. They’ll get something out of it. But if they expect just a magic answer on page 47, that worked for Google, and guess what now they’re gonna be like this work for Google, this should work for us. That’s not reality. And that’s where we have to look at ourselves to change our behavior and our expectations.
Dr. Katy Milkman 59:29
I could not have said that better. I love it.
Brett Bartholomew 59:32
Well, it was just refreshing for me to finally read a book that wasn’t guru ism about this stuff, because I think there’s things that can be considered pop science. Yours is anything but I’m a deep appreciator of it. I’m deeply appreciative that like you let us go into your athletic background. I hope to be a value to you in the future. If we can help anyway, from research we’ve done or opened up part of the sports performance world that you want to look at. Change Anything there you just call on me. This was an incredible episode. I thank you
Dr. Katy Milkman 1:00:00
Thank you so much for having me, Brett. This was tremendously fun for me. I really really enjoyed it.
Brett Bartholomew 1:00:03
Absolutely. So guys, make sure we’re gonna have the link so where you can buy Katie’s book we’re gonna have her social media links, her website, everything you will have no excuse, did share it on our social media, get your butt to the website support people like Dr Milkman that are trying to be proactive. They know they don’t know it all, but they’re willing to get their hands dirty. This is Brett Bartholomew, the art of coaching podcast with Dr. Katy Milkman. Talk to you soon.
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