How 'Nudge Theory' Can Help You (and Others) Make Better Choices - Deepstash
How 'Nudge Theory' Can Help You (and Others) Make Better Choices

How 'Nudge Theory' Can Help You (and Others) Make Better Choices

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How 'Nudge Theory' Can Help You (and Others) Make Better Choices

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Encourage people with the nudge theory

You want to eat healthier but instead, reach for junk food. You want your kids to fold and put away their clothes, but you don't want to remind them constantly. You'd like your spouse to remember to do the dishes, but you don't want to nag.

There's a way to get people to do more things you need and want to do without nagging. It's called nudge theory.

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Nudge theory is the practice of shaping one’s environment to encourage people to make a specific decision. Nudging uses small, subtle reminders and indirect suggestions to influence behaviour instead of obvious incentives or strict enforcement.

A nudge is only effective if the person being nudged does not perceive any restriction in their options. They should feel in control of the decisions they make.

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How to nudge others

  • Reminders at the right time. Telling your partner in the morning to get something from the store in the afternoon will not be very effective, but sending them a text just as they leave work will.
  • Planning prompts: getting people to make concrete when, where, and how you'll do something will increase follow through. A parent can ask their child "what time will you do your homework?" and "how will you remind yourself?"
  • Discourage certain behaviours by putting small barriers between yourself and the behaviour. Putting your phone in a different room can prevent checking it every five minutes.

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We want to do better, healthier things for our future selves, so it helps create nudges to make decisions in advance.

Creating a meal plan on your off day or signing up for a class at the gym a few days in advance will help to get your behaviour aligned with your long-term intentions, not just for what you want right now.

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