A 2-step psychological trick to stop procrastinating

That parking ticket you intend to pay is getting more and more expensive, and the rash you’re supposed to call the doctor about is starting to look fierce…and not in a good way.

If you’re putting off doing something and you don’t think there will be consequences, think again. For example, go to the gym.

Your muscles will begin to stiffen, so things that used to be easy for you now seem as difficult as climbing Everest.

Wharton professor Katy Milkman has come up with a psychological trick that will help you stop procrastinating while developing healthy and productive habits.

This life-changing system is called Temptation Bundling.

During a talk he gave at this year’s American Economic Association conference, Milkman said, «I struggle a lot with willpower. And at the end of the day it’s hard for me to go to the gym. It’s hard for me to stick to my diet.» «In general, I find it difficult to stick to my goals. One of the things that I have found curious is why and what can I do to solve those problems for myself and others.»

Every day after work, Milkman felt exhausted. she knew that I had to go to the gym (especially since as a teenager, she was one of the top 150 under-18 tennis players in the US), but all that i really wanted to do it was read a book or watch some television.

Milkman says: «Actually, I realized that those two temptations, those two fights that I faced, could be combined to solve both problems«.

So, she came up with a rule: She was only allowed to read a new favorite book, «The Hunger Games,» when she went to the gym.

Not only did he go to the gym more; she was actually looking forward to going as it meant she had to do one of her favorite things.

And he was born Temptation Bundling.

The theory is that you can make you find it easier to do something that is good for you in the long run, combining it with behavior that is good for you in the short term. In other words, you’re combining behaviors that you are tempted to do with behaviors that you should do, but often neglect or postpone.

Milkman and his colleagues tested Temptation Bundling by studying the exercise habits of 226 students, faculty, and staff at the University of Pennsylvania.

After teaching a group of participants how to use the grouping of temptations, Milkman found that people who used the theory had between 29 and 51 percent more likely to exercise compared to the control group.

Interested in beating procrastination? Milkman put together a «how to» to make your own temptation pack.

So, here’s a two-step psychological trick for you to stop procrastinating:

1. Create a two column list:

In the first columnwrite down the things you enjoy and the temptations that they are easy and that you want to do.
In the second column, write all the habits/behaviors/things that you should be doingbut that you often procrastinate.
Write as many behaviors as possible.

2. Check your list and see if you can link one of his easy-to-do and instantly rewarding behaviors with something you you should be doing

The grouping of temptations shows you a simple way to accomplish important tasks, but never feel urgent. By using the things you enjoy to draw you in, and motivating you by making it easier to stick with less fun habits that pay off in the long run.

Do you want to start walking more? Walk to the end of the street.

If you want to write write for two minutes. Get into the practice of making the positive habit, and before long you won’t even need to think about it; It will just be something you do.

The most important thing about a new habit is take action and be consistent. Everybody can do something for two minutes.

Whether it’s combining something you want to do with something you should, or just doing something for two minutes, you can start getting things done and develop new healthy habits.