“Damn Netflix, how I only watched 10 episodes Stranger Things, I have things to do!”
We’ve all been there. There are things we know we SHOULD do, things we SHOULD do, and things we WANT to do.
Most of the time, WANT wins over NEED and MUST.
It’s like trying to win a tug of war against a tractor pulling in the opposite direction. This is why we struggle to get to the gym after a long day at work. That’s why we choose Taco Bell instead of taking the time to cook a healthy meal.
Today, we’re going to give you a quick life hack that can help you start leveling up your life and actually doing things you need to do!
What is Temptation Bundling?
I bet you said this: “Before I can watch TV, I need to exercise.” And yet, television ends up beating exercise almost all the time, especially if it’s after a long day at work.
So instead of “if I do this, then I get that” What if we combined the two into one epic activity?
This idea is called “temptation clustering”. term coined by Professor Wharton Katy Milkman: finally, you combine something that needs to be done with something you want to do.
She describes the idea in a paper entitled: “Holding Hunger Games Homer in the Gym: An Evaluation of the Temptation Combination’.  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 do REAL things:
Participants were randomly assigned to a full treatment condition with gym-only access to enticing audio novels, an intermediate treatment that included encouragement to limit audiobook enjoyment at the gym, or a control condition.
At baseline, full and intermediate treatment participants visited the gym 51% and 29% more often.
Brief history: the people in the study who were told they could listen to addictive audio books only while they were working out he visited the gym 51% more often than those who just said they should exercise more.
Here are some examples of Nerd Fitness:
In love with the show Arrow? I am, and I want Stephen Amell to be my best friend. Don’t say, “I can only watch Arrow after exercise.” Change your phrase and try this: “I can only watch Arrow WHILE exercising.” Bring your iPad or laptop to the gym and watch certain shows only when you’re on the treadmill, walking, or using the elliptical .
Addicted to Clash of Clans on your phone? Only allow yourself to work on your tribe while you’re at the gym, between sets of deadlifts. The same goes for checking TikTok or Instagram: only when you’re resting between squats!
Maybe you can only listen Serial the The Rewatchables while walking, doing a specific task, or even while completing a chore around the house, such as cleaning or laundry. An hour episode while walking could result in you racking up 3+ miles walking into Mordor!
Are you afraid to try cooking a new healthy meal? You can listen to a podcast or music at home ONLY while you cook. BLOW it to peak volume while having fun making a mess trying to cook.
Now, while this study teaches us that combining a healthy life-enhancing activity with one you enjoy can help you make a change, the boost can often be temporary.
The study went on to say that the “charm” of the audiobook + gym combo wore off after a few months, reinforcing the proposition that the best chance for long-term success is to “really enjoy the journey.”
In summary: this can be a great strategy to start with and a great way to identify types of exercise or strategies that work for you, long term results may require improved strategies!
But that’s okay – we’ll use it to build long-term habits.
Try the temptation pack challenge
If you can get it right, the temptation bundle can increase the amount of time you spend doing a healthy activity while helping you cut back on the unhealthy.
Now, you might be saying, “Steve, doesn’t that make the fun activity less enjoyable and the exercise/health part less effective?”
Possibly, but that’s not the point! Sure, I’d love for you to go to the gym, complete a workout, eat a healthy meal, and then get 8 hours of sleep.
However, this is not Imagination Land, and I know that the best training program is the one you actually complete. This is infinitely better than the perfect workout plan that makes you say “me, I’ll start tomorrow”.
So what do we do? We use the temptation beam to start and then use the move to continue. When we build interest in the activity itself, we shift our focus from “I can handle this workout” to “I can’t wait to see how much better I am this week.” The change can become permanent.
Your turn: what is an activity you enjoy doing and what is one you know you should do more of? And how will you implement this strategy TODAY in your daily routine? Here are some other examples of rapid fire:
- Are you studying or working? Get your favorite snack or drink only when you do.
- Try walking outside (or a cardio machine) – this is the only time you’re allowed to listen to your favorite podcast/audiobook.
- Try combining chores such as ironing, laundry or washing dishes while watching your favorite TV shows or a new movie you’ve been waiting for.
What’s a temptation package to put together and start TODAY?