Nudge theory is the concept that you can trick yourself into changing your habits through positive reinforcement and gentle suggestions. Rather than restricting your behaviors, you limit your exposure to bad influences or temptations, and overexpose yourself to positive ones. Basically, you trick your mind into doing something you may not have done otherwise.

For instance, adding a small basketball hoop above your recycling bin may encourage you to recycle more. You may be more focused on shooting and scoring than you are throwing away plastics. Plus, your friends and family may want to join in on the fun.

Whether you want to save money or lose weight, set yourself up for success with these nine nudge theory practices. Continue reading for an in-depth breakdown of why and how these nudge theory examples work, or skip to our infographic for a quick overview.

Nudge Theory Example #1

Sometimes you may need an extra push to reach your biggest goals. You may not want to put extra money in your savings or consistently contribute to your 401K, instead opting for the instant gratification. However, it”;s potentially easier than you think to hack your mindset into doing them without thinking about it. Keep reading for our top nine ways to hack your habits.

1. Use Smaller Plates and Bowls to Reduce Waste

Reduce your food waste and grocery bill by ditching large dinnerware. Instead of spending your budget on food you don”;t need, simply swap out your dishes. Opt for a smaller plate or bowl to only eat what you need. If you”;re still hungry, you can dish up another serving. You may save a little more on your next grocery visit and get a better idea of how much food you actually eat.

2. Turn Recycling Into a Game and Earn Extra Cash

Recycling can help eliminate waste and reduce water pollution. To encourage you and your loved ones to recycle more, turn it into a game. Go online and print out a full page image of a basketball net. Then, tape it right above your recycling bin. Every time you need to recycle something, shoot and see if you score. Turn your plastics in for cash at your local recycling plant.

3. Take the Stairs to Burn Calories and Save on a Membership

For many, getting in your daily steps can be hard. Opt to skip the elevator or take small breaks to get your body moving by taking a few flights of stairs. To motivate yourself at home, place sticky notes on each stair that shows the number of calories you burn with each step. For instance, you burn 0.17 calories per stair, or half a calorie for every set of ten.

4. Add Motivational Tips to Your Mirror to Stay Focused

It”;s possible for the most famous and successful people to feel like frauds. If you”;re confident in what you do, people likely won”;t question you. Stick your favorite motivational quotes to your mirror to fuel your confidence. When you frequently fuel your motivation, you may feel more inclined to ask for a raise, or earn your dream job.

Nudge Theory Example 2

5. Establish a Competitive Environment to Surpass Your Goals

Engaging in friendly competition can benefit your budget. Enforce a healthy competitive work and personal life environment. Instead of saving a couple hundred extra dollars a month, start a no-spend challenge up against your loved ones. Not only will you be able to save more, your loved ones could work towards their financial goals, too.

6. Schedule Time to Tackle Unwanted Tasks

Schedule for pesky tasks you know you won”;t want to complete. This could include working out or going grocery shopping rather than eating out. Block off an hour of your time on your calendar each day for a workout, or a couple hours every week to run to the store. Set up calendar reminders for 10 minutes before your task to mentally prepare. That way, you”;ll know when to get ready, and follow through with it.

7. Practice Gratitude Every Morning to Spend Less

Most of the time, if you”;re thankful for what you do have, you may not want to buy more. Sit down every morning and write out five things you”;re grateful for. This could be your morning coffee, your work station, or your favorite free apps. You may not want a brand new car or fancy computer since you”;re thankful for what you already have.

8. Set Up Automatic Withdrawals to Never Miss a Payment

Make budgeting easy by setting up automatic payments for every bill you have. Not only can this help you stay accountable for your finances, you may also avoid late fees. Most online payment services have an option for automatic payments. Use our app to double-check your monthly budget and keep track of your transactions.

9. Use an App to Curb Spending Habits

Sometimes, many of us may hand over our cards and close our eyes. Since you don”;t physically hand over money, you may not be considering how much you”;re spending regularly. You may find yourself stumped at your credit card balance when it comes at the end of the month. To keep track of your purchases, use our app to be more mindful with your money. Not only can you track your spending, but you can set up alerts for upcoming bills and overspending. You may discover you”;re overspending in areas you had no idea were a financial burden.

Now it”;s time to start putting nudge theory into action. Once you create cues to enforce positive actions, you”;re more equipped to reach your goals. Now it”;s time to put these into action and reach your biggest goals.

9 Nudge Theory Examples to Hack Your Life, Career, and Savings Goals

Sources: Behavioral Science & Policy Association

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