How to train yourself to go to the gym

Heather Royer, an economist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, thinks she has hit on a way. In partnership with a Fortune 500 company, she and her research partners ran an experiment that combined two interventions: One to get people to start going to the gym, and another to keep them there. For four weeks, the company paid its employees to work out, $10 per visit up to three times a week. After those four weeks, there were no more payments, but some workers were offered a “commitment contract”: They could set aside their own money that would be released to them only if they worked out over the next two months; otherwise, it would be given away to charity.

Even though those commitment contracts ended three months after the start of the study, the effects on workout frequency persisted for years: Three years after the study, the workers who had been offered the contracts remained 20 percent more likely to work out than those who had not been offered any incentives.

Source. Habit formation through incentivized practice is underrated.

Cognitive behavior therapy, man. It’s the new cash transfers.

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