You had two choices, A: go to the gym and workout or, B: watch a series on the couch. After a quick battle in your brain, choice B won. What will help you choose A more often?
If the direct consequence (your experience) of working out is that it’s tough or perhaps something you feel obligated to do, and the direct consequences of not working out are watching a series or sleeping another hour – what do you think your smart brain would choose? As your brain is an expert of economizing your energy, it would probably choose the latter, even though this behavior isn’t in line with your long term goal of a healthier lifestyle. But you can, as the previous post mentioned, make use your brain to your advantage and make yourself do what you really want to do. One powerful way of influencing behavior is to trigger social norms.
Behavior is contagious. We humans are influenced by what other people do and most certainly don’t want to perform badly in comparison to others around us. So, one way to nudge yourself towards your long-term goal is to make use of these social norms in order to influence others, inspire people and let them know when you’re pursuing your healthy behavior, and allow yourself to get inspired by others. Maybe you can do this in your social media feed. Or, maybe you could start a specific workout message group with motivated friends or family and use it for the purpose of influencing and boosting each other.
Nudge nr. # 4 Schedule workouts with a friend
Many studies show that you’re much more inclined to fulfill a planned activity if you commit to it with a friend. If the social ‘wrongness’ of disappointing and breaking a commitment to a friend isn’t enough of penalty in itself, then you can find another negative consequence for whoever breaks the deal.
Task: Schedule a workout activity with a friend. Make sure to also decide what happens if anyone bails.
By Linda Lindström, Behavior strategist & Co-founder
Beteendelabbet (The Swedish Behavior Lab)