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Behavior Impact

Podcast 203: Scientific-Backed Approaches to Goal Setting with Dr. Gina Merchant

January 4, 2023

We're starting off the New Year with a podcast conversation that's top of mind for many: how to approach goal setting and habit formation. Behavioral scientist Dr. Gina Merchant joins the podcast to share the science behind what can help us achieve our goals, and what might prevent us from making progress. It's a can't miss episode to start 2023.

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We are kicking off the new year with the episode to help jumpstart your goals. Behavioral scientist and WHOOP Scientific Advisory Council member Dr. Gina Merchant sits down with VP of Performance Kristen Holmes to break down the science behind goal setting – and what can help set you up for success. They discuss everything from small habit changes to quitting cold turkey, with key insight on the most effective ways to make progress.

Want to see your questions answered? Email us – – or you can call our listener line (508-443-4952) and leave a voicemail, and your question might be answered on a future episode.


  • 3:18 – Creating the framework for change
  • 7:38 – Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations
  • 11:08 – How core values can impact changing habits
  • 16:08 – The science behind behavior change
  • 18:49 – The non-negotiables for changing behaviors
  • 22:01 – The interpersonal aspect of committing to altering your lifestyle
  • 26:58 – The impact of making small changes day-to-day
  • 32:33 – Self-monitoring while achieving goals
  • 34:27 – Unpacking self-determination theory
  • 38:58 – How social media can impact change
  • 42:16 – Quitting cold turkey
  • 45:58 – Developing long-term changes and self-reporting
  • 50:40 – How competition can help fuel habit forming

Gina’s Website

Gina’s LinkedIn

Connected by Nicholas A. Christakis and James Fowler

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