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We’re happy to do the hard thing…later.

Back in 1999, researchers had people choose some DVDs to watch.

They were either choosing something to watch now or something to watch in a few days time.

When people chose something to watch in the future, they tended to choose earnest, highbrow movies. Schindler's List, for example.

When they were choosing something to watch that day, they opted for something more like an Adam Sandler movie.

If ever you’ve tried to change your own behaviour, or someone else's, this can be why it’s so difficult for it to stick.

😇 Our future self is more virtuous than our current self.

We overestimate how much we’ll feel like doing the ‘right thing’, so that when the time comes, we can’t be bothered.

👉👉 So whether you’re designing processes and comms for your business or trying to improve your own productivity or health, plan for real behaviour, don’t rely on virtue.



Ref: Read, D., Loewenstein, G., & Kalyanaraman, S. (1999). Mixing virtue and vice: Combining the immediacy effect and the diversification heuristic. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 12(4), 257–273.  


Image by Jacques Savoye from Pixabay



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