Nudge yourself towards more sensible spending

Are you planning drastic, far-reaching new year’s resolutions? Stop! Making tiny (almost stupidly tiny) changes will be more lasting in the long run. Follow Oliver Burkeman’s baby steps…


Nudge yourself towards more sensible spending

Even the tiniest of obstacles can sabotage a good new habit: for example if it’s too much bother to figure out the bus route to the yoga studio, you’ll probably never make it to yoga.

But the flipside is that you can use tiny obstacles to your advantage, too – what’s been labelled a ‘nudge’.

For example, if you stick a piece of a Post-It note over the chip on your credit card, you’ll be forced to think slightly harder before using it, which might be enough to eliminate impulse purchases.

The key point is not to rely on willpower alone, but to make adjustments to the environment in which you exercise that willpower.

Another example: if you head to the shops with nothing but £20 in cash in your pocket and no debit card, you needn’t worry about resisting the urge to spend £40 on luxury treats; you just won’t have the option.

More inspiration:

Sign up for our Life Labs Practical Wisdom online course Achieve Your Goals here

Read Dr David Hamilton's Why you should write your goals down on LifeLabs