Sam Radford

May 19, 2021

Book Notes: “How to Change” by Katy Milkman

I finished How to Change a few weeks ago and it continues to resonate in my mind. I’m still processing and applying the insights and lessons I absorbed.

In short, if you need to change an area of your life, this book is a wonderful starting place!

It’s full of evidence-backed counsel on how to deal with everything from procrastination to laziness to forgetfulness to impulsiveness.

You’ll come away with practical guidance on the best ways to both break bad habits and establish new, healthy ones.

There are parallels with James Clear’s Atomic Habits, and I’d recommend this too if you’re looking to improve an area of your life.

In essence, we become who we are based on the habits we embody.

One of my favourite revelations in the book was inspired by Mary Poppins! Milkman points out that the famous A Spoonful of Sugar song from the movie highlights the benefits of making hard things fun: 

In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap, the job's a game
And every task you undertake becomes a piece of cake
A lark, a spree, it's very clear to see

It’s not rocket science, but then again, not a lot of advice in the realm of habits is. But we often forget the obvious. And we need the reminders.

It’s not just that though. Change is hard. We need strategies to help us. But, perversely, I often wonder if we don’t implement the strategies because they seem so apparent. 

Going through this book, and reflecting on my own progress in this area over the last year, has helped me see that the intentionality around overcoming the obstacles is key. 

Knowing the tips that’ll help is one thing, coming up with a plan to put them into place is another.

Milkman’s book is a helpful guide for anyone who’s motivated to change but looking for help to turn it into a strategy that is workable and long-lasting.

–Sam

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@samradford | samradford.com