Better Living Through Economics: Using Incentives to Get Fitter
By Art Carden
My latest article at Forbes.com explains the set of self-imposed constraints I’m using to eat better and exercise. I’m threatening myself with a very sharp stick; for every goal I don’t meet, I have to give the Democratic Party $5 and the Republican Party $5. Out of four goals related to diet, exercise, Bible reading, and coffee/water intake, which has been hardest? From the article:
Drink two ounces of water for every ounce of coffee. This, actually, has been the hardest of the goals, largely because I have to think about it more. I drink massive amounts of coffee, and I’ll sit and drink it all day, every day if I’m not very deliberate about moderating my intake. I’ve persevered, though, and I’ve cut the amount of coffee I’m drinking while increasing my water intake.
This failed last summer because I had an end date; I thought I would have developed habits and would no longer need strong incentives. I was wrong. This time around, there is no end date.