What is choice bias? Choice bias is the reason the same sandwich tastes better when you order it off a menu compared with when someone else picks it out for you. It’s also an effective tool for teaching yourself good habits.
Our preferences for making our own choices can be used to reinforce our learning.
Changes in brain activity make us more likely to repeat actions that produce rewards. This is especially true when we’re in charge of the prizes. Learn to use choice bias in your everyday life and get the results you want.
How to Use Choice Bias
Pick your own rewards. Use what you love, and turn your actions into habits that become ingrained in your character. For example, you might be motivated by a special dessert or an extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning.
You have the power. You have the power to make choices, even when your situation appears hopeless. You may be unable to change your circumstances, but you can change your response.
Limit your options. As much as we love choices and rewards, having too many can be a bad thing. Trim your list to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Act quickly. Strengthen your lessons by acting quickly. The reward should closely follow the action or behavior you are trying to create. Prompt reinforcement helps your brain make more powerful associations.
Repeat and repeat again. Forming new habits requires sustained effort. The good news is, you get to enjoy even more rewards.
Other Ways to Use Choice Bias
Parenting. Choice bias works with children as well as adults. Perhaps giving your child the choice of eating broccoli or carrots will be more effective than insisting they eat both of them. Or you can offer the reward of playing a game with them, as soon as they finish their homework.
Motivate yourself at work. There could be long periods between raises and promotions. Give yourself a pat on the back with fresh flowers, or a new book, every time you complete a training course or complete a project.
Managing your job search. Maintain your spirits if you’re currently unemployed or underemployed. Set yourself a daily goal of spending a certain amount of time searching on-line job postings, and then treat yourself with an activity you love like taking a walk or chatting with a friend.
Make housework more fun. Do you procrastinate when it comes to cleaning or mowing the lawn? You’ll start looking forward to your least favorite tasks when you know there’s a reward at the end.
Exercise regularly. Are you having a hard time talking yourself into climbing on the treadmill or doing some kind of exercise regularly? Your workouts will seem more pleasant if it is an exercise that you enjoy, so if you don’t like running on the treadmill but you love dancing, join a dance group. Also think about alternating your workouts, maybe running, yoga and swimming. This will make it more interesting. And create healthy rewards for reaching milestones.
Channel the power of individual choice and make it work for you. What is better than gaining positive habits and rewarding yourself for your smart decisions?