Use temptation to get fitter & healthier

Use temptation to get fitter & healthier

"Lead us not into temptation" - Matthew 6:13.

Quoting the Bible.  That's something I never thought I'd be doing in my weekly blog post. But here I am, starting this article with one of the few quotes I know from the Bible.  And yes, I must admit, I did have to Google which verse it was from.

The quote above is, quite clearly, all about avoiding places or people that can tempt us.  It is temptation that can lead us, in the case of this email, astray from our health and fitness goals.

But, what if we could work with temptation to reach our weight loss or health goals?! The science of habit building and research into behaviour change is showing that we could do just this.

Enter Temptation Bundling
When it comes to becoming a fitter, stronger and healthier version of our current selves, there are some core habits that must be followed to get there; improving sleep, eating more nutritious foods, walking more and exercising to name a few.

No matter what we do though, there are some tasks we just can't get ourselves motivated to get on with.  For some people that might be going for a walk alone, for others, it may be food prepping or getting to the gym.

Avoiding these types of task could be down to many reasons such as doubt and procrastination to name but a couple.  And one of the antidotes to these obstacles is to make the habit easier to do.

And to make a specific behaviour easier to do, we can use temptation to give us a helping hand.

The idea of temptation bundling involves using a 'thing' that we really enjoy to help us get on with the other 'thing' that we cannot muster the motivation to get on with.  

For example:

  • You can't be bothered to go for a walk by yourself each day.  You could walk to your favourite coffee shop that sells the BEST coffee in town.  The high-quality cup of coffee becomes your temptation that makes getting out for a walk worth it.
  • You can't be bothered to prep your lunches for the week.  You could throw on your favourite album, playlist or podcast and listen to them whilst you prepare your food.

In both of the examples above you are using a form of temptation to make it easier or more likely to follow the behaviour that you need to do to reach your goals, but have been putting off.

It really is that easy for some behaviours.  If you use temptation bundling enough, you may find your behaviours become habits, and the results you have wanted to see for years start to emerge without too much resistance.  Whether you use the temptation for eternity is up to you, but as you see results and your self-image changes,  you may find yourself wanting to do the things that you have previously avoided.

However, there are two conditions that you should follow to make this become a powerful tool though:

  1. The temptation cannot compete with your main goal.  For example, if your goal is weight loss, you would not want the temptation to be a calorie-laden mocha-frocha-chapa-latte or a slab of brownie.
  2. You have to save the temptation for when you use your temptation bundles.  If you can make yourself a really nice coffee at home or if you listen to your favourite podcasts any time, then the temptation bundle will lose its power.   Commit to using the temptations at these times only.

This week, have a think about the things that you having been putting off when it comes to reaching your health and fitness goals.  Next, think about some temptations that you could use to make it easier to do the things that you've been putting off.

About Matt

I want to help empower you to lead an active lifestyle and help you build the habits and practices that will help optimise your health - without counting calories, dieting or following another overly intensive exercise program.