Because of the inevitable drop-off of students in the summer (uughghg), I pick up a seasonal life guard job. Yesterday was my first day back at the pool where I love to catch up on one of my favorite podcasts, Freakonomics. The episode was titled “When Willpower Isn’t Enough” and gave advice backed by academic research on how to follow through with personal goals. The episode used exercise and dieting as their main personal failure subject, but my mind went straight to PRACTICING.
Behavioral economist Katherine Milkman presented the idea of “temptation bundling”, where you compliment two activities: “one you should do but may avoid; and one you love to do but isn’t necessarily productive”. For example, you can’t eat that piece of cake unless you go to the gym! The concept seems simple, right? What about:
You can’t buy a new piece of music until you’ve tackled one of the dozens that you purchased and never finished.
After you’ve mastered a new orchestra excerpt, you can open up the new Billy Joel collection, arranged by Emily Brecker.
You can go to happy hour after you’ve practiced for an hour.
Did anyone else hear their mother when reading these compromises? 🙂 It seems so simple, but I can tell you that I don’t run my practice schedule like this! In fact, a lack of schedule or consequences wreaks havoc on my practice habits. Mental goals, or even goals written down makes a world of difference. I love to run everyday. Telling myself that I can’t run until I’ve practiced?? Look out world!
Check out the whole podcast here!