You can use nudges to change behaviour gradually and effectively move it in the direction you want to reach your goals.

We will be discussing techniques to help you achieve your goals at the next IMPACT Goal workshop if you would like to come to it:

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Female hand with finger outstretched pushing over the first in a line of dominos, to cause them all to fall

Nudges can lead to big change in behaviour

Using nudges

In their book, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness, Nobel Prize in Economics winner Richard Thaler and his co-author Harvard Law School professor Cass Sunstein talk about how everyone from individuals to government can “nudge” behaviour in a certain direction to achieve a desired outcome.

Cover of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness, by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein

The idea is that you do not need to be overly specific, prescriptive and instructive.

Small series of well thought out steps to move people in the right direction can lead to dramatic change.

Long term benefits

A lot of what Thaler and Sunstein talk about relates to how government policy can be set so that a population acts in ways beneficial to them in the long term.

This is even if they would not actually naturally take the action in the short term.

Governments have used policy to “nudge” people to build a pension pot.

This helps to avert a catastrophe of poverty unfolding in retirement.

Design small steps for big change

Rather than simply compounding on a single repeated action, nudging is about thinking through a series of small steps that lead to the ultimate outcome.

You can apply this in your own life by designing smaller steps that lead to big change.

Nudging is something that you can do to change your behaviour and make improvements over the long term.

To do this, ask yourself:

  • What behaviour would you like to change over the long term?
  • What small Steps, which accumulated over time, would move you towards that change?
  • How can you design a series of nudges to help you make change the change?

Use your answers to set yourself Gateways to enable the change.

If you would like to discuss this further, come to the next IMPACT Goal workshop:

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