We’ve all done it.
The alarm wakes you up in the morning. You snooze it to lounge in bed for just 5 more minutes, only to wake up in a panic half an hour later, fearing you’ll be late for work or school.
It’s happened to me too.
But one fine day, I decided I’ve had enough of it. I decided to put an end to it, once and for all.
Remember this year’s Nobel Prize in Economics? It was awarded to a quaint little gentleman known as Richard Thaler, a professor at the famed Chicago Booth School of Business.
In short, as a Reuters article put it, Thaler got the Nobel because he made economics “human”. How?
He popularised the notion that humans do not always behave as cold, “rational”, profit-mongering machines constantly conspiring to maximize the pleasure they get out of goods and services – a notion contrary to the simplistic assumptions of many classical economists.
Thaler along with legal scholar Cass Sunstein had earlier written a book which became a bestseller: Nudge.
In it, they put forward a separate idea that quite often, humans lack self-control and therefore make bad choices. Example? Yes, you guessed it: snoozing the alarm in the morning.
The Nudge Theory
In this book, they popularised the “nudge theory” – that humans, when faced with the possibility of making a potentially bad choice, can be “nudged” into making the right choice.
Example? You have a choice to snooze the alarm and go back to bed in the morning, and not to. Although you’re likely to do the former – a potentially bad choice, you can be “nudged” to make the better choice – get up from bed.
How I put it into practice
Fact: I just do not like the sound of the alarm buzzing away in the morning. I want to switch it off as quickly as possible, because it disturbs my oh-so-peaceful sleep.
It’s precisely this realisation that I used as a weapon to stop myself from snoozing the alarm and going back to bed.
I used to take my phone to bed with me, but no longer. Now, I keep it on a nearby table: just close enough for the sound of the alarm to wake me up in the morning, but far enough for me to have to get up from bed to switch the alarm off.
It’s been working wonders the past few months, and I must say, it’s a highly effective life-hack indeed. I no longer wake up late.
Do give it a try! 😀
Nudge Theory is an extremely powerful instrument of change. You can use it to change so many things in for the better.
Here are some examples:
1. Using Facebook too much? You don’t need to go offline forever or deactivate your account. Just uninstall the app. You can always access it from the phone browser.
We’re all lazy. Since opening the browser and signing in with your email ID and password every time is so much more tedious, you’ll find yourself using Facebook far less often.
And yes, please do sign out of your Facebook when you’re done. That way, you’re keeping the effort of logging into Facebook again high.
Then, lay back and watch your laziness work wonders!
2. Binging on chips too much? Put it on that cupboard high up in the kitchen. You know, the one you need to strain your feet, or better still, use a chair to reach?
Since it’s so much effort, you’re gonna be lazy and not want to put in some much effort to get your chips.
That will reduce for chips consumption.
3. Quora is addictive? I know, ask me. Well, log out every time. Better still, keep a pretty complex password (which you can remember, of course).
Since it’s so much effort to type in credentials every time, and we’re all lazy, you’ll find yourself using Quora less often.
You get the hang of it. There are countless ways you can use similar techniques to overcome bad habits and change your life for the better.
Pro Tip: Feel free to stop here and come up with such similar strategies to overcome your bad habits.
Human fallibilities like laziness, lack of self-control, etc. are, well, evils; but not always so.
Sometimes, you just need to use these very same human fallibilities to change your life for the better.