Have you cultivated a lifestyle of hyperbolic discounting?
For starters, you might want to know what hyperbolic discounting is! I sure didn’t know what it meant until I read a great Nir & Far article “Hyperbolic Discounting: Why You Make Terrible Life Choices”. I’d recommend reading the entire article for some really great info, but essentially hyperbolic discounting is when someone chooses a smaller, immediate reward rather than a larger, delayed reward.
The article described a research experiment that illustrated two choices: Receiving $100 today, or waiting a week and receiving $120. We are impatient and every time the person choose the $100 today for that immediate pleasure rather than the future good. I realized that most people have this cognitive bias, naturally (and unfortunately) many of us do this with our fitness goals!
Joseph Pilates was a person that definitely valued the big goals that take more time and commitment with bigger results over the small goals that take less time, less commitment with less valuable results. You’ve probably seen the sign in the ABC Pilates lobby with Joseph Pilates’ most famous quote: “In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body.” So, let’s think realistically about how long it would take you to do 20 Pilates sessions—two classes per week for 10 weeks would equate to about two and a half months of dedicated Pilates practice to see the rewards. However, because of this cognitive bias, most people aren’t able or willing to commit to that amount of time, so they give up.
With our natural bias toward hyperbolic discounting, it’s understandable why people want (and expect) to see quick, immediate results when it comes to health and fitness. It’s the reason why fad diets, new workout trends, weight loss supplements and cosmetic surgery are so appealing. However, any fitness expert or nutritionist will tell you that it’s much healthier and more effective to focus on the long-term, bigger lifestyle results and rewards.
Commitment was a key word that jumped out to me while reading this article. It honestly takes commitment on a daily basis to gain the long-term big reward instead of the short-term smaller reward. Joseph Pilates knew this, and now you do too! When you know better, you do better, so starting today, make a commitment to yourself and your health and fitness goals. Make a conscious effort to stop that impatient hyperbolic discounting and start making decisions regarding your wellness for the good of your future!
To your health,
ABC Pilates Studio Manager & Instructor