You’re sitting on the couch using your mobile device to shop online when you see an item that you absolutely must have. Two taps later, the item is in your cart and you’re ready to check out. After adding your shipping information, you think, albeit prematurely, “Wow! It’s so easy to buy whatever I want from the comfort of my couch.” Smiling, you scroll to the payment details section, then quickly frown upon seeing blank fields for a card number, expiration date, and CVV. You let out a long sigh because your card is in your wallet, which is in the kitchen, practically 50 paces away! Comfortably seated on the couch and not the least bit interested in getting up you say, “Alexa? Bring me my card.” If only it were that easy. The barrier is almost too much to handle. You’re about to abandon the cart for cute animal videos, when you see it: the digital wallet you recently installed on your mobile device. Convenience at your fingertip. A ray of digital sunshine. The choir sings. You quickly tap the icon, then tap one more time to confirm your purchase. Phew! Your smile returns and all is well again in that moment.
Growing up my mother made us go through a process that, to my childhood brain was cruel and unusual. It was called spring cleaning. Each and every year, twice a year (in fall too), we cleaned the house from top to bottom. Ironically, I didn't have all that much responsibility until I was older, but it did mean I had to clean my room and separate my clothes for the season.
My favorite bicycle vendor refuses to offer a lifetime warranty on their products. Their argument is that they want to make something so good it doesn’t need a warranty. What the other manufacturers do is make something so cheaply that, with markup, they are expecting every item to be replaced by a warranty at least once and they still turn a profit. To do that, the manufacturing cost has to be incredibly low, which brings the quality down.
Most dieters fail by denying themselves any pleasure. Deciding to “get healthy,” they decide to eat 100% healthy all the time always. While each individual meal is fine, consumed with water and no desert, it’s when you start thinking about the future, about a lifetime of healthy food, with no pizza, no burgers, no fries, stretching out between now and death that things tend to fall apart, that all of the sudden you are at the donut shop buying a dozen and eating them sitting in the parking lot. This often leads to a full week of nightly pizza orders before you get back on track.
We naturally seek pleasure, and giving it up one meal at a time is one thing, but imagining the rest of our lives without cake is another. This is the theory behind the 4 hour diet by Tim Farris, which has a “cheat day” built in every saturday where you literally eat whatever you want. It’s easier to eat healthy wednesday knowing you’ll have all the pie you want saturday. The cheat day also helps reset your metabolism, so that your body never adjusts to the slower caloric intake of the healthy meals, and acknowledges the social nature of food. You still get to have a big italian dinner with your family and break bread together, while moving towards a healthier goal.
Humans have a hard time properly recognizing value. For instance, I have to fill out about an hours worth of paperwork to receive a $100 rebate on my glasses through my health insurance. This seems like a tremendous hassle to me, but on the flip side, if someone walked into my office and offered me $100 to fill out an hour of paperwork, and I could do it whenever I wanted, I would happily do it, thinking to myself “oh, wow, $100 to sit in a robe on a sunday morning and fill out papers, what a deal.” We think we’re rational creatures, but we aren’t, and sometimes we are very, very bad at knowing how much we need to spend to make ourselves happy.