May 24, 2021 | 6 ABC

Changing patterns and behaviors to improve mental health

From 6 ABC:

As the world inches past the pandemic and things open up more, many people have vowed to make changes in their life, to get healthier, make a career change, or to create new social connections.

But many times it's easier said than done and that's where science can help.

"We fall back on our old habits; we take the path of least resistance," said Katy Milkman, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist at Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania.

Milkman has dedicated her career to figuring out why it's so difficult to change. What sparked her interest? A study showing 40% of premature deaths in the U.S. are due to changeable behaviors.

"So decisions we make about what to eat, whether or not to smoke, whether or not to drink, whether or not to be safe when we get into vehicles," she said.

She said humans aren't truly wired to achieve long-term goals. In her new book "How to Change" she detailed the science of getting from where you are to where you want to be.

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