Trying to make better lifestyle and health choices can be tough. Their are so many things in our lives that stop us making the better choice at the time of choosing. We want to do our workout or attend that class or go for that run but at the time when we have to make that decision to do that thing, we are so often let down by our want to avoid it or the want to do something else.
A powerful tool that can help us here is the nudge. But before we get there, let’s look at other ways that attempt to make us make better choices.
Firstly there are outright bans. Things are made illegal at a national or international level. Not sure I’d like to eat a bread laced with Alum as happened in Victorian times! Another way is through economic incentives. One recent example is the sugar tax which adds a levy on sugary soft drinks with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml.
Both these options comes from on high, imposed on us by our government. This type of action does not always work in making the population choose the better course that policy makers expect. Enter the nudge! This liberty preserving option steers people in the wanted direction but crucially allows that person to go their own way. Example nudges are apps that remind you to move if you’ve been sat down too long, a text reminding you to pay a bill or the traffic light system seen on food packaging.
The goal of a nudge is to make life simpler, safer and easier to navigate. Many nudges are in place to make sure people achieve their goals.
One type of nudge is a reminder. Life is busy. We have so many things competing for our attention and the reasons people don’t make that healthier choice are many. It could be a lack of inertia, procrastination, forgetfulness or maybe they feel like there are so many things they need to change, it all begins too much even to get started. With this type of nudge, timing is absolutely critical. This makes sure people act immediately on the information received. Any delay could result in all the problems above: lack of inertia, procrastination, etc.
So what things could I put in place, to nudge me into making better choices. Well simple things like post-it notes on the fridge reminding you why you’re avoiding for greatest food weakness. Or maybe increase the size of your water glass helping you keep hydrated.
Or maybe an app could help nudge you to a healthier you….?