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Too Lazy To Work Out? Try Temptation Bundling

“Damn you Netflix, how did I just watch 12 episodes of House of Cards! I have stuff to do!”

We’ve all been there. There are the things we know we SHOULD do, the things we NEED to do, and the things that we WANT to do.

Often, the WANT wins out over the NEED and SHOULD.

It’s like trying to win a tug-of-war against a tractor pulling in the opposite direction. It’s why you struggle to get to the gym after a long day of work. It’s why you opt for a Mc Donalds instead of taking the time to cook a healthy meal.

Distinguishing between the want, need and the should!

I bet you’ve said the following: “Before I can watch TV, I need to exercise.” And yet, TV ends up winning over exercise almost all the time, especially if it’s after a long miserable day at work.

So, instead of “if I do this, then I get this” What if we combined the two into one epic activity?

That idea is called “temptation bundling,” Ultimately, you combine something that needs to be done with something you want to do.” The goal is to get us to do things we need to do by combining them with things we want to do, removing the “either/or” temptation and getting us to ACTUALLY do stuff!

Afraid to try cooking a new healthy meal? You can ONLY listen to a podcast or music in your house while you are cooking. BLAST it at top volume while having fun making a mess trying to cook.

Now, what’s interesting is that although this study teaches us that bundling a healthy life-improvement activity with one you enjoy can help you make a change, the boost can oftentimes be temporary.

If you can implement it properly, temptation bundling can both increase your time spent doing a healthy activity while also helping you limit the unhealthy one.

Want to watch 10 hours of a TV show? I hope you’re ready to walk on a treadmill for 10 hours!

Now, you might be saying, “Olivia, doesn’t this make the fun activity less enjoyable and the exercise/health portion less efficient?”

Kind of. Sure, I would love it if you went to the gym, completed a kickass workout, ate a healthy meal, and then got 8 hours of sleep.

However, this isn’t Imagination Land, and I know the best workout plan is the one you actually complete. This is infinitely better than the perfect workout plan that makes you say “meh, I’ll start tomorrow.”

So what do we do? We use temptation bundling to get us started, and then use drive to keep us going. When we build interest in the activity itself, we shift our focus from “I’m enduring this workout” to “I can’t wait to see how much better I am this week.” The change can become permanent.

So have a think…

what’s one activity that you love to do, and one that you know you should do more of? And how are you going to implement this strategy TODAY to your daily routine? Here are some other rapid fire examples:

  • Are you studying or getting some work done? Get your favourite sugar-free coffee drink/food item/snack only when you are doing it.
  • Try walking outside (or a cardio machine) – that’s now the only time you’re allowed to browse your favourite website, subreddit, or social media.
  • Try pairing chores like ironing, doing laundry, or cleaning dishes while watching your favourite TV shows or a new movie you’ve been waiting for.