top of page

Welcome to my blog!


Experience a profound journey to better living! Learn how to unlock your full potential! Join our exclusive WhatsApp channel for a daily dose of insightful and inspirational content covering all aspects of health, wellness, and every facet of life that touches a human being. Elevate your well-being with expert advice, motivational tips, and practical insights. Don't miss out on this opportunity to nourish your mind, body, and soul. 

The Magic Cure for Procrastination - Part 2

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

Procrastination is often considered synonymous with laziness. Whereas laziness incites and aggravates procrastination, the two are not really the same. Laziness postulates an unwillingness to act, a state of apathy and little or no activity. Procrastination, however, is an active process where one chooses to do something else (like to do, want to do) over a task that they should be doing (need to do, should do, have to do).

Before you proceed, I hope you have read Part 1 of this article first.

Image source: Pixabay

Let us look at the two common things people procrastinate for. Exercise and Diet. Let us be honest – all of us, literate, educated, knowledgeable people who have, in the past decade, graduated from Facebook and WhatsApp universities, are fully aware of the health benefits. Aren’t we? Apart from the long-term benefits, we would also be familiar with the true rush of endorphins (more about them in a future article), that make you feel really good about ourselves. But when it comes to the actual act of exercising – we procrastinate, put it off. We have a zillion reasons as to why tomorrow or some day in the future would be a better option. In fact, some of us wait for 1 January so that we can make a New Year Resolution and then embark on our program. Unfortunately, tomorrow never comes. I know people where tomorrow has translated into years, if not decades.

Again, all of us know the importance of eating a nutritious, healthy diet. We are all fully cognizant of the fact as to what constitutes unhealthy food, the detrimental effects of overeating and obesity, the harmful impact that processed food and junk food have on our system. Yet, we persist and give in to temptation ever so often. We have a zillion reasons as to why it is okay just this one time and going forward into the hazy future, we would resist succumbing to such temptation again. And then again, when tomorrow comes, we postpone it further to another day. Oftentimes, the only stage that we take action is when our health has become precarious or we are now facing an extremely critical health situation when it warrants urgent attention. In fact, if we believe that pills and medications can help us prolong our bad habits, we would be happy to do so. Until we reach the stage where pills and medications are useless – and by that time, it is often too late.

Why am I narrating all this? Simply because for the first example (exercise), you have to do something which has been postponed. In the second example (diet), you have to NOT do something which has been postponed. The magical cure proposed here in this article, will more likely, work on the former (exercise) than the latter (diet). The cure is ideal for things you must do, have to do, should do; it is not exactly the same for things you must not do, should not do.

Let me not keep you in suspense any longer – what is this magic cure? It is called ‘Temptation Bundling’, the outcome of research by a team of psychologists, viz., Erika L. Kirgios, Graelin H. Mandel, Yeji Park, Katherine L. Milkman, Dena M. Gromet, Joseph S. Kay, Angela L. Duckworth. You can find the entire research publication here.

Says Katy Milkman…

“Temptation bundling involves the coupling of instantly gratifying “want” activities (e.g., watching the next episode of a habit-forming television show, checking Facebook, receiving a pedicure, eating an indulgent meal) with engagement in a “should” behavior that provides long-term benefits but requires the exertion of willpower (e.g., exercising at the gym, completing a paper review, spending time with a difficult relative).”

Let's imagine you want to go to the gym to focus on your health, but you truly don't enjoy it. You enjoy watching your favorite TV episodes on Netflix after work, but after one or two hours, you start to feel terrible. You believe that your time could have been used more effectively and that you ought to have visited the gym. Guilt – the wasted emotion you are better off without!

In the case of temptation bundling, you would use Netflix as an incentive to go to the gym and as a reward for doing what you ought to be doing anyhow. This implies that you would limit your Netflix usage to the same time that you exercise, only watching your favorite show when you work out. You're left wonder

ing what happens in that show after you leave the gym. The only way to learn the answer is to treat yourself to the upcoming episode while you're on the treadmill (if you stick to the plan, that is).

What if you only allowed yourself to get a pedicure or a foot massage while reading and responding to important emails that are past due? So, what if you restricted yourself to only playing your favorite music while finishing up household chores? Maybe just allow yourself to visit your favorite restaurant for the paneer makhani or butter chicken you can't get enough of while spending time with a challenging relative or colleague you should spend more time with.

Remember, what you are trying to achieve here. You are trying to form a new habit. A habit is what we repeatedly do consistently. The new habit you are trying to form is one that has delayed gratification. The habit that you are bundling it with is one that provides you with immediate gratification. The new habit you are cultivating is important, but not urgent (in your mind). The habit you are bundling it with is neither urgent nor important, but gratifying (for your mind).

Transform your temptation into a powerful motivation. Like I mentioned in the previous article, there are a couple of catches to it, which requires you to think and plan. Find the right activities, i.e. make a list of the things you like/want to do and those you want/have to do. Then sprain your brain to pair them – how can you bundle what you have to do with what you want to do? Lastly, stick with it. Never forget that our subconscious adores repetitive behaviours and creates neuropathways. Cultivate the habit, until it becomes you.

The main idea of temptation bundling is to leverage a chore you enjoy doing that gives you immediate gratification to motivate you to do something else that will probably have better long-term results, like exercising or improving your health. To have the best of both worlds, you meet in the center. The consequences of temptation bundling don't persist forever, at least not for everyone, as the study demonstrates. Eventually, you should gradually start to shift away from your temptations and only engage in the "should" activities.

How then, do we tackle the things that we should not do? Stay tuned to this blog.

bottom of page