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Have You Tried Temptation Bundling?

#personaldevelopment Dec 20, 2022

This week I thought I would share something called “Temptation Bundling.” Many of us are struggling with New Years resolutions that don’t work. I think we can all attest to that. Workout gym parking lots are filled until February with everyone working out. Soon the resolutions begin to fade and plenty of parking spots begin to reappear. Why is that and what can we do to become more consistent with our goals?

Introducing “Temptation Bundling”

A woman named Dr. Katherine Milkman out of the University of Pennsylvania did a study based upon her own experiences that she found helpful. She calls it “Temptation Bundling.” Dr. Milkman found that when you are struggling to develop a healthy habit, if you tie it to an activity you love, the behavior you want to instill or task you have to accomplish, becomes more likely. When you bundle what you love and what you hate together, you can’t do one without the other.

Dr. Milkman wanted to get more physically in shape. She downloaded some of her favorite audio tapes and only listened to them when she went to the gym. Instead of the gym being a place she dreaded, it became a positive place to go to listen to her favorite audio tapes. As a result of her success, she decided to do a study.

Benefits of Temptation Bundling

Dr. Milkman had three groups. The first group was given their favorite audio tapes or music that could only be listened to during their time working out at the gym. The second group was given their favorite audios but could listen to them at any time day or night. The third group was told to go to the gym but were given nothing special to listen to. Interestingly the group that had the “Temptation Bundle” and listened to their favorite tapes only while working out achieved significantly better results than the other two groups. 

Bundling Builds Motivation

I decided to try this with some of my dreaded tasks like housekeeping. I found the same thing. I put my favorite Netflix show on and watched it only when I cleaned. My brain immediately got into gear. I bundled my most dreaded task with one I liked, and miraculously the negatives turned into much more positive thoughts. I will always dread cleaning, but now I have a huge motivation behind it. Remember, the bundle you chose can only be done when you put it with the behavior or task you need the motivation to do. I don’t watch my show any other time but when I am cleaning. I have also started doing this with administrative work that I hate to do for Pathways. I still don’t love the work but it certainly has become better when I bundle it with something I enjoy. Offsetting the negative with something to look forward to has made a difference!

Think about "Temptation Bundling” for yourself. What could you bundle for yourself or even with your kids to provide a more positive experience when you have to do the nasty things you don’t like? Try it. I have found Dr. Milkman’s research to be helpful!

Share below things you tried or could start to bundle!


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