The Christmas festivities are over and most of us are making resolutions for the New Year. Many of us want to be healthier, to exercise more, or to change our habits in some way. We start off with the best of intentions, but we soon find that willpower alone will only get us so far.
The problem is that most New Year resolutions fail within three weeks. That can knock our confidence and makes us give up entirely.
Perhaps it’s time to ditch the ‘all or nothing’ approach. Maybe it’s time to make small changes which will have a big impact over time.
Instead of relying on our willpower, how about trying a little ‘Nudge Theory’?
What is Nudge Theory?
Nudge Theory is the subtle application of psychology and behavioural science to reinforce and support certain habits.
It seeks to influence your decision-making almost unconsciously, allowing you to make good choices without being forced to do so. As the name suggests, it gives you a ‘nudge’ in the right direction.
The technique has been used by politicians (such as Barack Obama) and by businesses, and has been particularly successful in helping workplaces to become compliant with health and safety regulations. For example, Health and Safety Executive uses nudge theory to help achieve a zero-accident culture.
Here are a few examples of how it has been applied:
- Supermarkets which give free fruit to children who walk around with parents, and remove sweets and chocolates from the checkout. They are often replaced with nuts and seeds. This is aimed at ‘nudging’ shoppers towards making healthy choices.
- Factories where eye guards are needed for staff often have buckets full of them at the door onto the manufacturing floor, the last thing workers will see before they start work. Then, putting them on becomes second nature.
- Gyms often have bottles of water near the entrance or exit, and in key areas where people will rest between sessions or repetitions, helping it become the norm to pick one up and stay hydrated.
- Some supermarket carparks have a system of arrows which leads drivers away from the entrance past rows of spaces before they reach mother and baby spaces. Most drivers will follow the arrows because it’s second nature. Taking them past several rows of spaces encourages people to park up in available spaces earlier, leaving the mother and baby spaces nearer the store free.
OK, Ok… But how does this apply to oral health and grooming?
If you want to change your habits or those of your family, make it simple.
Nudge yourself (and your children) towards the outcome you want by making it convenient and fun to do it.
For example, you could:
- Create a morning and evening routine where a visit to the bathroom to brush your teeth is accompanied by playing your favourite song. It becomes a treat.
- Keep a spare toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss in your gym or work bag so you can clean your teeth and floss after lunch. With the added benefit having your kit ready if you stay at a… mate’s.
- Make sure your toothbrush is the first thing you see when you walk into your bathroom – or walk out of it. Keep the toothpaste and mouthwash with it. It’s amazing how effective this can be in keeping it in your mind.
- For children (and some adults...), make it a game. Who can pull the funniest face when their brushing teeth? Who can guess the tune being hummed? A little prize helps this technique go a long way.
- Why not get better habits delivered to you in an oral care box? If you have kids you want to nudge towards better grooming/hygiene, address the box to them – children LOVE receiving mail & the unboxing becomes an event – they’ll look forward to their next delivery and soon they’ll be reminding you to brush your teeth!
If you want help getting that little 'nudge' in the right direction, then check out our convenient, affordable service to have Brushbox products sent straight to your door.