14 Jul Do You Lose The Motivation When Feeling Stuck? Try Temptation Bundling
Have you ever felt stuck while pursuing a personal or professional goal? Perhaps you wanted to reduce the time you spend on social media, read more or lead a more active life. Despite making clear goals for yourself, you could not follow the steps required to fulfil these goals. Do you often find yourself procrastinating to follow the dreams you have carved for yourself?
The problem is not that you do not know how these goals can help you in the larger scheme of things. In the examples shared above, you understood how reducing your social media usage would allow you to focus more on other aspects of your life. Or how reading would help improve your language or that exercising is good for your overall health.
The problem is that there is a barrier to change, and most of the time, you are not able to identify it. As a result, you procrastinate and keep putting off your actions to the next day.
Katherine Milkman, a behavioral economist and professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, could have the answer to your struggles. She says bundling something you enjoy with something you dread can lead you closer to your goals.
For instance, if you are watching a TV show, make a pact with yourself to watch it only after you have exercised, if that is your goal. Similarly, order food from your favorite restaurant only when you have cleaned your house or made your work presentation. She calls it temptation bundling.
Why does temptation bundling work?
Apart from the fact that it has worked for Milkman in pursuing her own goals, she also observed positive results in her research studies. And that leads us to the question, why does it work?
At times, you have intrinsic motivation to work and inch closer to your goals. However, when that does not work, you need an external push. Temptation bundling gives you a reward that gives you the motivation to behave in a certain way. The underlying concept here is the incentive theory of motivation. It suggests that behaviours are driven by a desire for incentives or rewards.
The simplest example to understand this is to go back to the time when you were in school. You studied hard to win your reward, which was good grades.
When you apply the concept of temptation bundling to real-life scenarios, you get an immediate reward. As you do this, dopamine, the hormone that plays a crucial role in how you experience pleasure, gets released. That, in turn, gives you the motivation to do the task that you have been struggling with.
How can you put temptation bundling into practice?
Temptation bundling is not a hack. Instead, you will have to think through and make a strategy to make it work.
Select the right activity
You will end up reducing your chances of success drastically by selecting the wrong activity. For assured results, make a list of activities that you love and another that you hate. In the next step, identify the activities that you can pair. For instance, you cannot match calling your friend with reading a book.
When you have made your bundle, you will need to ensure that you are not rewarding yourself unless you finish the activity you dread. This step is essential to help your brain make that connection and anticipate the reward to drive your motivation.