Change is hard. We’ve all tried to make a change in our lives (that we knew would be for the best) and struggled. You need to have a plan!
One option – use a “commitment device”. Commitment devices set us up for long-term success by helping us leverage preparation: using our bodies and brains in the way they’ve evolved to be used.
We’re wired to save energy, and often that means doing what’s easiest. And what’s easiest isn’t always in our best interest, or helping us reach our goals.
Building good habits doesn’t mean overcoming bad ones or ramping up our motivation to suddenly change overnight. Those kinds of changes don’t always stick. Instead, we need to leverage our natural human tendencies.
A commitment device is a choice you make NOW that will help your more readily follow through in the future.
For example, if you make an appointment with a personal trainer, you’re more likely to show up. If you join a soccer team, you’ll show up for the games. And if you prepare your lunches in advance for the week, you’ll eat them.
Here are two very simple commitment devices you can set up right now:
Schedule your workouts ahead of time.
Write down your daily workout time in your planner so you know not to overbook yourself. Commit yourself to the same time everyday and make sure others know your workout time.
Write down what your lunches will be for the week.
Simplify your routine! Stick to a consistent lunch, or plan your week’s dinners and use leftovers for the next day’s lunches.
Create a shopping list, head to the store, and buy everything you need for your lunches. Dedicate an hour TONIGHT for food preparation.
Dice your vegetables, proteins, nuts, and seeds, and put them in separate containers. Prepare enough for the entire week.
Keep it simple! Most folks eat pretty similar lunches each day. Save variety for your dinners.
Commitment devices remove friction and the burden of choice. Do your future self a favor: Make commitments in advance!