Procrastination and Smoking

Procrastinating even though you know it’s best for you? You are not alone.

Two Harvard professors in 2006 began to study procrastination, even when we know the outcome will be so much better for us.

So, Todd Rogers and Max Bazerman conducted a study where participants were asked to agree to enroll in a savings plan that automatically placed two percent of their paycheck in a savings account.

Nearly every participant agreed that saving money was a good idea, but their responses contradicted that when asked to contribute immediately.

One group of participants was asked to enroll in the savings plan immediately. In this scenario, only 30 percent of people said they would agree to enroll in the plan.

Another group of participants were asked to enroll in a savings plan in the distant future, perhaps a year. In this scenario, 77 percent of people said they would agree to enroll in the plan.  Why did more people agree to it in the future?

Why We Procrastinate: Pain vs. Pleasure

Humans like to enjoy immediate benefits in the present, especially if the costs of our choices don’t become apparent until far into the future.

Examples: The immediate pleasure of eating that giant piece of chocolate cake and the cost of ditching your workouts won’t show up until you’ve skipped for months.

The immediate pleasure of spending money on that new item you want and the cost of forgetting to save for retirement won’t show up until much later.

When we think about these issues in the distant future, our choices change.  In a year, would you rather be overweight and out of shape or eating right, skipping sugar and feeling energetic and healthy?  The same applies to smoking!

The Answer to Your Procrastination about Smoking Cessation

So, what can you do if you want to quit, but find yourself procrastinating?

Make the rewards of long-term behavior more immediate.

We procrastinate because we want that immediate benefit and pleasure. If you can find a way to make the benefits of good long-term choices more immediate, then it becomes easier to avoid procrastination.

Ready to begin on the journey to becoming a non-smoker?

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