82 - Habit-building 10: How to make a habit attractive

23-07-2023

habit-building

What is common to Pepsodent, Febreze, and Dettol?

A friend of mine in undergrad was a fan of Medimix soap. He was in the minority. For the rest of us, Medimix was that bar of green soap that barely made any lather. A less foamy experience was a less clean experience. My friend labored to convince us that cleanliness had little to do with foaminess, but we were unmoved. Our Lirils and Cinthols ticked a most important box–that of _feeling _clean (whether or not we were, in fact, clean).

That is exactly what is common to Pepsodent, Febreze, and Dettol. Each of these brands produced a feeling that consumers found irresistible and associated with the routine of using the product. This feeling was not necessarily a sign of a better quality product, just like Medimix wasn’t perhaps an inferior soap, but it improved the perceived quality of the consumer’s experience. It made us crave something unique and then nudged us to satisfy that craving by using the product. This is what made the ritual of using them attractive to millions of consumers around the world.

We can use this insight to build healthy habits for ourselves. Create a desire for a routine by rewarding yourself at the end of it. Anticipation of that reward will drive us to take action, again and again. How can we design a craving?

Temptation bundling is the strategy of combining a habit that you _want _with a habit that you _need**. **_It stirs you into action by making you crave a reward you want and in the process do what you need.

You like crime fiction and you need to be fit. So you decide to listen to audiobooks ONLY when you’re out for a jog.

_You like to check social media and you need to do housework. So you allow yourself social time AFTER you’ve done the dishes. _

Eventually, you’ll start associating doing dishes with the rush of social media, or jogging with the thrill of a whodunit.

You can also use the principle of temptation bundling as a persuasion tool. I post at the same time most weekdays. I could call my thing Coffee with Satyajit and suggest that you pair the pleasure of having coffee (something you love) with the experience of engaging with what I put up (something I want you to love).

Marketers and sellers around us are bundling temptations with their products by creating a desire within us. We can apply the same principle to create better habits in our lives.

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