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How ‘Self-Nudging’ Can Help Kickoff a Healthier You

The term ‘self-nudging’ is unfamiliar to most people, but many are already practicing this technique, albeit unknowingly. Those who are on a diet are usually the ones guilty of it!

According to Tara Swart of MIT, self-nudging is a simple yet proven method of overcoming temptation. This theory also applies to instances where one lacks willpower. A behavioral science study shows that this allows a person to make better choices by eliminating items that would not positively contribute to their well-being.

Better Choices Starts with You

Roman Samborskyi/shutterstock: Choose the best for yourself

Choosing the appropriate snack may seem like nothing, but what we eat can greatly affect our health. With this in mind, making an effort to hide or remove junk food from the pantry will make self-nudging way easier.

Even when doing the groceries, a person can self-nudge by immediately avoiding the aisle full of sweets and chips. It’s also best to shop on a full stomach as impulse buys tend to occur when hungry! Samuli Reijula of the University of Helsinki says that these minute decisions have a considerable impact, although it might not be that easy for others.

Halfbottle/shutterstock: Healthier food choices for a healthier you!

Self-nudging is not limited to food choices alone. It can also be applied to how one can focus on work. Social media has dominated the world, and everyone is hooked to the digital way of life, which is why some companies have restricted access to these sites. It significantly interferes with employee productivity. One way to curb the urge to check your phone for Facebook or Twitter updates is to turn off the wireless/data connection, or better yet, turn off the notifications entirely.

Practice Makes Perfect

SK Design/shutterstock: Give yourself time and never give up

Anticipating instances where self-nudging is required plays a key role in its success. Unfortunately, most of these actions have become a habit, so correcting it would require a tremendous amount of willpower.

Like with all things new, begin with baby steps. Ease your way in to break the cycle and allow ample time to adjust. For example, uninstall food delivery apps for a chance to cook a healthier meal at home or remove candies out in plain sight to control sugar intake.

Other changes may include setting the alarm an hour earlier than the usual wake up time to give room for exercise. The possibilities are endless!

It’s also important to delay gratification. Before eating that big slab of chocolate cake, decide to eat it an hour later and see if that desire is still present. Spur-of-the-moment food cravings are acceptable once in a while, but it would lead to overeating if indulged without limits.

In a nutshell, self-nudging is both an easy and challenging task, but it’s pretty doable. As long as accountability is present, then one is already a winner.

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