• Achieve Today Team

Stop Making Bad Decisions With This Simple Psychological Trick

Updated: Aug 28, 2018


We've all been there before. We're over-committed and burned out, but we still say yes to our manager's weekend emails and commit to more off-hours work. We plan on going to exercise, but instead end up going out for drinks with friends. We plan to get more done around the house, but instead find ourselves watching television.


One of the indisputable facts of life is that we'll face temptation after temptation that tries to pull us away from our goals. Whether these goals are career focused, health conscious, or family oriented, there are many things that could potentially sideline you.


What if you knew the exact moment when temptation would hit, and the exact way to remove the temptation and avoid making a bad decision?


Researchers think they may have found exactly that.


In a study published this year in the "Journal of Economic Psychology," scientists monitored and studied why and how people make bad decisions. (1) In the study, they focused on a quiz and watched to see if people cheated on the test.


During the quiz, participants in the study could sit anywhere they wanted to in the room. Some of the tables were set up so that what you were doing was fully exposed to everyone else in the room. Other tables were more private, and if you sat there, people couldn't see what you were doing.


Those who put themselves at a table where it was easier to cheat and get away with it were far more likely to actually cheat on the test!


The study was conducted by a professor named Jennifer Pate at the Loyola Marymount university. In an interview with The Cut, (2) she says:


“The takeaway was that once you’ve knowingly put yourself into a situation where it’s easy to cheat, you’re probably going to do it — people who tempt themselves to cheat will cheat more.”

The takeaway for life's more general scenarios is the same. The key to stopping yourself from making a bad decision is removing yourself from situations where a bad decision is even a possibility.


For example, shut off your email and smartphone on the weekends to avoid being tempted to respond to work emails. If you’re planning on hitting the gym, don’t rationalize a delay or a stopover that could distract you (e.g. instead of home between work and the gym to pack your gym clothes, pack it ahead of time and go straight to the gym after work without stopping anywhere).


By removing the easy ability to self-sabotage your goals, you make it far easier to make healthier, smarter, better decisions.


If you've found this topic helpful, but still need direction to apply it into your life; then click here to get a FREE 45-Minute Call with a coaching consultant at Achieve Today. They'll walk you through your goals, help you understand why you might be stuck, and give you some solid solutions to your problems.


References:

1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0167487018300679#!

2. https://www.thecut.com/article/how-to-stick-to-a-budget.html

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