Reaching Goals & Gaining Self Control

Setting and achieving goals can be a tough nut to crack, but here is a new concept to help you gain some self control and reach your goals.

Setting and achieving goals can be a tough nut to crack, but here is a new concept to help you gain self control and reach your goals.

I was experiencing a pretty frustrating morning when I decided it was time to get out of the house, slap on my headphones, and go for a hike.  Gaining self control is a constant issue in my world, so I checked in on my podcast library to see what I could find to pull me out of my miry mood.  If podcasts could be spirit animals, I found mine in this episode of Freakonomics Radio where Katherine Milkman shared her findings on a concept she has coined “Temptation Bundling.”  (NOTE: she also discusses the “Fresh Start Effect” in this episode, but for the purpose of focus, I’m saving that one for a future post).

Setting and achieving goals can be a tough nut to crack, but here is a new concept to help you gain self control and reach your goals.

Milkman’s idea of “Temptation Bundling” has you pair something that you like to do with something that you should do.  Generally speaking, as humans, we are naturally inclined to create time for what we enjoy and avoid that which we do not, which is why so many people have a tough time setting and achieving goals.  So, the light bulb went off, and her research followed.   Admittedly, this theory stemmed from her own personal challenges sticking to diets and her struggles with self control at the end of long work days.  Her motivation was to research possible solutions for herself as well as to help others reach their goals.

While listening, I realized that I had unknowingly implemented her notion of “Temptation Bundling” several years ago.  At the time, I was unhappy with my health, and couldn’t figure out how to motivate myself to hop on the treadmill that was collecting dust in my bedroom.  I made excuse after excuse: I’m too busy, I’m too tired, I’m too lazy (ok, so that one was probably true, but not a decent reason).  It occurred to me one day that I was clearly not “too busy” to workout if I had enough time to binge on Netflix every night and most weekends.  So, I made a decision that I was “not allowed” to watch any television unless I was on my treadmill.  I didn’t have to run or get too crazy, but I had to be moving.  Guess what?  IT WORKED!  I was on that treadmill which might say more about my addiction to Netflix than it does about my commitment to getting healthy, but it doesn’t matter!  I was on the right road to a healthier and happier me.  Turns out, I also had this trick in my back pocket to get my laundry done.  I made a rule that I was only allowed to watch Jeopardy (yes, I’m a nerd and I love Alex Trebek’s quippy ways) while folding clothes.  SPOILER ALERT: IT WORKED AGAIN!   Ultimately, I had paired something I liked to do: watch television, with something I should do: workout & fold clothes.  

Setting and achieving goals can be a tough nut to crack, but here is a new concept to help you gain self control and reach your goals.

Here are a few more examples of “Temptation Bundling” that might be up your alley:

  • Indulge in a cheat meal & do 50 sit-ups
  • Only listen to your favorite album & balance your checkbook
  • Skip your workout?  Skip the brewsky!
  • Avoiding someone you should spend time with?  Take them to your favorite restaurant (reserve this restaurant solely & completely for difficult people)
  • Clean out your inbox while watching your favorite movie
  • Declutter while listening to your favorite podcast
  • Only play Candy Crush when you’re on the stationary bike (please only on a stationary one . . . yikes!)


If you need help getting your “Temptation Bundle” together, don’t sweat it!  

I’ve got a worksheet to help you figure it out:

Setting and achieving goals can be a tough nut to crack, but here is a new concept to help you gain some self control and reach your goals.

What did you come up with?  I’d LOVE to see all of your bundles in the comments below!

If you want to read some other great posts from some of my bloggy friends, we’ve got a Bloggy Brunch goin’ on!

How to Walk 10,000 Steps Everyday!

Trying to figure out how to stay more active during the day? Here are a few tips to get you up and moving!

AFFILIATE LINK DISCLAIMERHow to get more steps in your day.

So you’re wondering how to get more steps in.  Whether you have jumped on the Fitbitting Bandwagon, or you are simply trying to move more throughout the day, here are a few tricks I’ve discovered to get at least 10,000 steps every single day.


Take a Break

How to get more steps in your day.

If you’re anything like me, you start working and get sucked into your computer for hours.  Whether you’re responding to the Never Ending Story of your inbox, or you’re locked into your calendar, there are days when you start work, and next thing you know the sun set without you even noticing.  On these kinds of days, you have to be intentional about getting more movement than the sporadic trip to the restroom.

The easiest way I have discovered to get myself out of desktop gridlock is to set an alarm.  Every couple of hours the alarm on my phone goes off with a reminder to stand up and get moving.  When I hear the alarm, I immediately stop what I’m doing; I have to.  I know that if allow myself to finish up one last sentence, that one sentence turns into two, which turns into three, which eventually turns into several hours and my alarm goes off again.

So, when the alarm goes off, get up, stretch your legs, take a lap around your office, your house, the library, where ever you might be, and keep moving for five minutes.  You’re getting those steps in, PLUS the mental break is great for your productivity and mental acuity (another topic for another day).


Park Inconveniently

How to get more steps in your day.

Whether you are just getting to the office, pulling into the grocery store parking lot, or taking a trip to the mall, make it a point to park farther away than you normally would.  I don’t mean snagging the spot one lane over.  Go big or go home on this one!  Take the absolute farthest spot from your office entrance, or find a spot far from the cart return (and by all means take the extra steps to return your cart), or if you’re really inspired before your shopping excursion, choose the parking lot on the opposite end of the mall.  Just imagine all those steps you’re tracking as you traverse through the crowds of shoppers.  The bottom line is this, if your typical course of action is to get the quickest, closest, and most efficient parking spot, just do the opposite.


Take the Stairs

How to get more steps in your day.

You’re probably rolling your eyes in a duh-like fashion, so I won’t tell you what you already know.  Just like picking a decently far parking spot, take the stairs over the elevator at every opportunity.

You’ve heard all of that before, but what about taking the stairs at home (or if you live in a one-story, taking some extra steps).  How many times have you been sitting on the couch, or lying in bed, or finishing up dinner, and you either need or want something, but you decide it’s too far away?  Don’t tell me I’m the only one here guys!  Lying all snuggly in bed when you realize you are desperately thirsty, but getting out into the cold and walking to the kitchen is THE LAST thing you want to do, am I right?

Well, now you have some extra motivation to take the trek downstairs (and presumably back UP).  Getting extra steps is now on the forefront of your mind, so do it. Just do it.  Get up out of that fluffy goodness of pillows and down comforters, and get that glass of water.


Get Outside

How to get more steps in your day.

Now, I understand that some people do not live in the temperate climate of Southern California, so I’ll concede that this might not be possible for some of you year round.  Don’t worry, I’ve got some tips for you too!  For now, though, let’s assume it is a beautiful day . . .

Slap on some sunscreen, and hit the road Jack!  Seriously, what are you doing inside on a day like this?  Go for a walk around your neighborhood, take a hike (literally, not metaphorically), try something you’ve never done before.  Scroll through Groupon to find a new adventure.  Call up a friend you’ve been meaning to reconnect with, and invite them to join you.  With a little bit of creative intention, the possibilities are seriously endless.


Discover Moments

How to get more steps in your day.

You have a thirty minute lunch break; you’ve finished your sandwich, and you still have 10 minutes before you have to report in.  Ordinarily you might lounge around the break room, or crush through the most recent licorice forest.  Instead, why not take advantage of those few, precious moments to enjoy some fresh air?

If weather or time do not permit a jaunt outside, take the stairs down to the lobby and do a couple of laps.  Take the stairs back up to your desk before your boss clocks in.  Who knows, maybe you’ll lose track of time and the leisurely stroll turns into a mad dash.  The point is, if you have time to watch a show, play a game, or troll your newsfeed, you have plenty of time to get in a few extra steps.


Join or Start a Challenge

How to get more steps in your day.

If you have a fitbit, you may have noticed that there is a tab for challenges in the app.  This has proven to be an excellent way to find motivation to get your buns off the couch.  You can easily find friends to challenge through Facebook, your contacts, or by inviting them with an e-mail.

Fitbit has also designed different types of challenges.  Depending on your competitive nature, you can walk to annihilate the competition, or you can collect challengers simply to cheer each other on.

I thought that I was doing pretty great hitting my 10,000 daily step goal. Then I started joining challenges. This is when I realized some of my friends were more than doubling my steps on a daily basis.  I found this to be incredibly motivating to get moving even more, and I did!  I have yet to catch up to these high stepping maniacs, but my new daily average is closer to 15,000 (and I feel GREAT!).


Don’t have a Fitbit and starting to feel left out?

{CLICK HERE} to peruse some popular fitness trackers!



If you’re interested in finding ways to sneak veggies into family dinner, check out Veggie Hide And Seek.



What do you think?  Do you have any tips or tricks that you use to reach your 10,000 steps every day?  Please share them in the comments below!  I love to learn new tricks!