The Water Cooler

A blog of fresh ideas and findings from organizational leaders and researchers on how they’re making work better, shared regularly.

Achieve your resolutions using the science of temptation bundling

Filed under: Goal Setting
Achieve your resolutions using the science of temptation bundling
If you’re trying to figure out how to stick to your new year’s resolutions consider “temptation bundling”, the idea of only allowing yourself to do something you enjoy, perhaps reading trashy novels, while doing something you know you should do, like exercising.

Dr. Katherine Milkman, Assistant Professor of Operations and Information Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, has been studying how “temptation bundling” can be used to encourage better behavior. She set up an experiment where participants were given access to a thrilling audiobook only when they went to the gym to work out. And it didn’t take long to see some promising results; audiobook listeners started working out more than the control group. Watch the above video to learn more.

Milkman has studied workplace interventions similar to bundling to encourage all sorts of behavior, from hygiene compliance in hospitals to getting a flu shot. She has also looked at how committing to a new goal at a natural “fresh start” point - be it the new year, a new performance cycle, or a birthday - can help as well. So now is the time not just for new year’s resolutions, but new year’s bundles.