Today’s quick tip from the couch is about how we can build healthy habits into our lives in a way that will actually stick.
While I always encourage clients to use their values to motivate their actions, sometimes we need an extra boost to get us across the finish line. Enter temptation bundling.
Temptation bundling, coined by Wharton professor Katherine Milkman, is the idea of simultaneously bringing together two activities — one you enjoy that isn’t necessarily productive and one that you need to do but often avoid. Simply put, pairing wants with shoulds.
Temptation Bundling in Action
A great example of a healthy habit that can be hard to implement is exercise. While everyone knows exercise is incredibly beneficial for both their physical and emotional health, when that alarm goes off at 5:45am or at the end of a long work day, it can be really hard to push yourself to get to the gym.
So what if you bundled exercise with one of your “wants,” like watching your favorite guilty pleasure reality show? The idea is that you would only allow yourself to watch that show while at the gym. Or only listen to your favorite audiobook while on a run.
Some other examples of temptation bundling that my clients have effectively put into practice are only listening to a favorite podcast while doing household chores or only getting a pedicure while clearing your inbox of overdue emails.
A Personal Anecdote on Temptation Bundling
Something I have found particularly helpful is a variation of temptation bundling that allows the “want” only upon the completion of the “should.” About a year ago, I found that my meditation practice had really lost its consistency. I knew I needed to do something about it so I decided to pair meditation with my morning coffee ritual. Every morning, I make
About a year ago, I found that my meditation practice had really lost its consistency. I knew I needed to do something about it, so I decided to pair meditation with my morning coffee ritual. Every morning, I make a latte that is so delicious, I just can’t go a day without one. Literally. So I told myself that in order to get my morning latte, I had to meditate for 20 minutes first. No meditation, no latte. And it worked! I was so focused on getting my coffee that my meditation habit fell right back into place. After about a month of this, I was able to loosen the reigns because the habit had been firmly set back in place and I could see the benefit it was having on my life. My motivation to meditate now stretched beyond my need for a creamy caffeinated beverage, it was about the positive impact it had on my life.
After about a month of this, I was able to loosen the reigns because the habit had been firmly set back in place, and I could see the benefit it was having on my life. My motivation to meditate now stretched beyond my need for a creamy caffeinated beverage; it was about the positive impact it had on my life.
What Will You Bundle?
I encourage you to take a look at your life and see what habit you might need help putting into place. Commit to pairing it with a want, either simultaneously or as a reward, and see what positive changes you can make happen.
I’d love to hear what good habit you’re committed to setting in place and what you are going to pair it with. Connect with me on social media to let me know.