Motivation Hacking vs. Temptation Bundling

I enjoyed listening to Stepehn Dubner’s Freakonomics interview with Katherine Milkman; in it they talk about “temptation bundling,” a term that Milkman and her co-authors describe as coupling “wants” with “shoulds”:

Temptation bundling involves the coupling of instantly gratifying “want” activities (e.g., watching the next episode of a habit-forming television show, checking Facebook, receiving a pedicure, eating an indulgent meal) with engagement in a “should” behavior that provides long-term benefits but requires the exertion of willpower (e.g., exercising at the gym, completing a paper review, spending time with a difficult relative).

While listening to the show I kept thinking to myself that “temptation bundling” is not the right term… She seems to be talking about a type of motivation hacking. It’s not as if one is bundling temptations. I think reward-linking, as Nora suggested, would be better. Indeed, when I first heard of temptation bundling the first thing that came to mind was Louie’s “bang-bang.” He and his brother decide that in preparation for beginning a diet of kale and going to the gym, they’ll eat two complete meals, such as Sushi-Pizza, Barbecue-IHOP, or Indian-diner. That’s temptation bundling!

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