Everything you Need to Know About Habit Bundling

Fab Giovanetti

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Building better habits are at the core of being able to be our most efficient selves during our day - yet each habit starts as a decision we make a repeated number of times.

This is one of the reasons why, creating better habits and rituals can also be so damn hard, and so many of us suffer from decision fatigue - it's estimated that the average adult makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day.

That is enough to take a toll on the most strong-willed of people. Yet, better habits can help us be more productive.

When it comes to reclaiming time is incorporating habits that can help us feel more motivated and energized, as well as unwind at the end of the day. We all know that we might be better with one over the other. I love morning rituals and morning time for myself, but I struggle to create an end-of-day ritual.

You might find that for you, the mornings are the busiest time of the day - or most likely you reach decision fatigue in the evening. This is where the concept of habit-bundling can come to the rescue.

This idea comes from the better-known concept of “temptation bundling”, which encourages giving in to temptations to form new habits — as long as it’s paired with something beneficial.

The origin of the term

Temptation bundling” is a term coined by the behaviour researcher Katherine Milkman and her colleagues in a 2014 study.

In her study, researchers gave participants iPods with four audiobooks they wanted to listen to — however, they could only access them while working out. As a result, the participants’ gym attendance increased when an incentive was tied to it.

Combining new habits that may be good for you, but you are procrastinating on (like for example meditation, or reviewing your finances, doing your taxes) with ‘indulgent’ activities can be the most powerful way to introduce productive practices in our day.

I would encourage you to think about something that you are already doing, like, for example, making a morning coffee. Bundle (combine), that practice with something such as a five-minute breathing exercise, and use it as a way to encourage a powerful habit that you want to build.

My accountant turned her financial reviews into ‘money dates’, by having a large glass of wine and her favourite music in the background.

To pick your pairing, start by identifying pain points in your life, and combine them with rewards - these are your wants (rewards) and needs (things you put off doing or do not come natural to you).

Use habit-bundling as a boost of motivation to encourage long-lasting changes in your life. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to bundle two ’needs’ together

How can we combine temptation bundling with productivity? I like to think about these habits as rituals to begin and end my day with because I believe that those are the most significant ways to create effective boundaries.

Maybe you want to end your day with a fun 5-minute comedy video on YouTube, and you can do that as you're closing tabs on your laptop. You can combine writing your priority list for the day with having your morning coffee.

Habit bundling can also be a great way to bring more awareness around tasks that are draining your energy. Want to scroll Instagram? Next time, promise yourself you’ll do ten burpees before opening the app. Trust me, it works.

Summary

  • Use temptation bundling to form better habits for yourself
  • Always combine a ‘want’ and ‘need’ together
  • Create habit-bundles for your morning and end-of-day rituals
  • These practices can bring more awareness around a habit you are looking to kick

We know the importance of setting our day for success and closing our days with some peace and clarity. Reclaiming your time off means shaping up rituals that can bring more structure to your day. So bundle habits to make the most out of these moments for yourself.

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