You postponed your workout and succumbed to the chocolate? Guess what – you’re human! Question is, how can you make better decisions everyday?
In everyday life, you’re surrounded by a choice architecture that constantly challenges your desire toward a healthier lifestyle. About 80% of your everyday decisions are influenced by your automatic system – what some people call our reptilian brain.
The system is there for a reason. Evolutionarily, it helps with fight and flight, and not being actively forced to reflect on every single choice we make. But it can also be misleading, lead you to give in to temptations, and sometimes even trick your brain which can make it hard to achieve your ambitions.
All that being said, being aware about your cognitive biases can help you take control of your decisions. You can even use these traps to your advantage by altering the decision making environment so that they nudge you to make healthier choices – without limiting freedom of choice. This is a concept called nudging. In a series of five blog posts, you’ll get to know nudging through tips and tasks about how small changes in the environment of your everyday choices can have large impacts on your journey towards a more healthy lifestyle.
Nudge nr. # 1 – Make your food hard to reach
Research shows that we mindlessly eat more food when it is in front of us. For instance, you are more likely to refill your plate during dinner if you have food containers at the table in front of you, and you’re more inclined to grab snacks at eye-level in your pantry. In order to reduce these type of traps, make sure to only have the healthy salad bowl at the dinner table and leave other food containers (casseroles, pans etc.) in the kitchen when eating. Also, place healthy snacks at eye level in your pantry and move the unhealthy snacks to a place that is harder to reach.
Task: Go to your kitchen pantry – do you see anything unhealthy that you can move to a shelf that is less visible?
By Linda Lindström, Behavior strategist
Beteendelabbet (The Swedish Behavior Lab)