How Making Your New Habits Immediately Satisfying is the Key to Lasting Change
In the 90s, a public health researcher working in a neighborhood in Pakistan managed to reduce diarrhea among the local children by 52 percent. Pneumonia also dropped 48 percent and skin infections dropped 35 percent. How did the researcher achieve this outcome? Simple. Fancy soap.
The researcher knew that basic sanitation, like hand washing, were the key to reducing illness. The locals knew it too, but they weren’t turning their knowledge into habit. However, everything changed once the researcher introduced a high-quality soap into the neighborhood for free. Overnight, hand washing became an immediately satisfying experience. The delightful smell and rich lather had everyone washing their hands because it became a pleasant activity.
So as you can see, making behavioral changes instantly rewarding is the key to making lasting change.
Our brains prefer instant gratification, so we need to leverage this knowledge to our advantage. Because in order to make the long-term changes we are seeking, we have to have instant rewards; Otherwise, we are much more likely to give up.
Let’s say your long-term goal is to eat out less, cook healthier meals at home, and save money. You could make this instantly rewarding by creating a savings account called “world travel,” and when you avoid a meal out you transfer $25 to it. That short-term satisfaction will keep you motivated to reach your bigger goal.
This concept may seem so simple, but it is often highly overlooked. So my challenge to you is to give it a try. Set your long-term goals and create a way to make each little milestone instantly rewarding. Before you know it, you’ll be at your long-term destination.
Hope you enjoyed the read.