Self-nudging: your own WHY is important

To change a habit

For some people, it’s not difficult at all, they decide to take an extra walk or eat something healthy, period. But the vast majority of people, as much as 80%, have difficulty changing already established habits and need a little help along the way.

Sometimes it works better if you help yourself by putting reminders on a calendar or a note on the fridge.


The problem with that alarm, email or note is that after a while you don’t think about it. Maybe even get annoyed that the email appears in the inbox. But this is where self-nudging comes into play. It is not enough with a reminder from “somewhere else”, you need to help yourself remember why you should change your behavior or add a habit.

Why becomes important

Say you want to get better at walking, even get better at scheduling regular walking meetings. Start by thinking about why it is important to you. It can be anything from you needing to exercise during a working day to avoid having a stressful everyday life, to reminding yourself that a walk is good for creativity. So when you write your post-it reminder about the walking meeting, also write less stress and creativity on the note.

Your why helps

The next time you see the note, you are reminded not only of what it is you are supposed to do, but why. Your why helps you remember and anchor, you stop and think through your decision and thus gain motivation to implement your intended change.

Source: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

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