Struggling to find the time or motivation to hit the gym? You’re not alone.

Meet Katy Milkman, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who faced the same dilemma. Like many of us, Katy knew she needed to exercise more, but after a long day at work, all she wanted to do was relax with a good book or her favorite TV show. Then, she had an idea that changed everything: what if she only allowed herself to indulge in her favorite book, The Hunger Games, when she went to the gym?

This simple strategy, known as “temptation bundling,” transformed her fitness routine. By combining a task she needed to do (exercise) with something she loved (reading), Katy found herself not only going to the gym more often but actually looking forward to it.

How Temptation Bundling Works

Temptation bundling is the concept of pairing a behavior you want to do with a behavior you should do. Here’s how you can create your own temptation bundle:

  1. List Your Pleasures: Write down the activities you enjoy and look forward to, such as listening to audiobooks, watching TV shows, or getting a pedicure.
  2. Identify Your Tasks: List the tasks you often procrastinate on, like working out, doing household chores, or handling work emails.
  3. Pair Them Up: Combine each “want” activity with a “should” task. For example:
    • Only listen to your favorite podcast while exercising.
    • Only watch your favorite show while ironing.
    • Only get a pedicure while processing overdue emails.

By linking these activities, you’ll find it easier to perform tasks that are good for you in the long run, making your fitness journey more enjoyable and sustainable.

Why Start Now?

There’s never a perfect time to start—only today. Your health is a priority, and with the right strategies and support, you can make lasting changes. Remember, the tasks that are important are rarely urgent, but by using temptation bundling, you can make these tasks more manageable and enjoyable.

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