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“Sofi lindholm reviewer denise rq. How many of you press. The snooze button when the the alarm rings in the morning and how many of you press. It more than ah great so i m not the only one here who wants to get up early but fails to do so let me ask you a different question who ever thought of eating fewer unhealthy snacks and who succeeded in doing so for more than a month.
See many of us wants to live healthier lives. But fail to do so. So we want to get up early and we want to live healthier lives. But somehow we don t how about your pensions.
Do you think you save enough for retirement or do you plan to look into this at some future point in time well then it might be too late imagine you don t save enough. Then you ll have to adopt a much soberer lifestyle. After retirement. And you ll have to move to a smaller house give up on your hobbies exactly when you get more time to enjoy your home and your hobbies.
You may even struggle to make ends meet is that what you want well from these examples. It s obvious. There is a gap that we all suffer from the gap between planning and doing we plan to do the one thing and end up doing something else we plan to look into our pension savings in the near future but we keep procrastinating. Why do we have this gap and wouldn t it be great.
If we could close it well you might think that closing the gap is not that difficult we simply have to care more about the future people who don t save enough for their pensions are just stupid. It was their choice not to save more so no pity for them after retirement well. It s not that simple we do care about the future. We have ambitious plans for the future.
We just fail to carry them out ironically. The first step towards closing the gap between planning and doing is to become aware that we cannot escape from it and to understand the gap. It helps to think of ourselves in the future as different persons than we are today so not only our circumstances change no we our preferences change as well from day to day from minute to minute..
It s as if we are a different self at every point in time. The current self is planning and the future self is doing the gap between planning and doing is essentially the result of a disagreement between our current and our future selves. So the self who sets the alarm wants to get up early and the self who wakes up from the alarm wants to stay in that nice warm and comfortable bed in general there are at least three reasons for a disagreement between our current and our future selves. First of all circumstances change.
So imagine that in the near future. There will be a great technological breakthrough that will all of a sudden make us all live ten years longer on average well. Then my future self will decide to save more for retirement than my current self plans to do this disagreement between my current and my future self is caused by this unexpected change in circumstances so none of these selves is to blame for making a wrong decision they simply have different information on which to base their decisions. But when i set the alarm in the evening and wake up the next morning circumstances haven t changed that much it s me my preferences that have changed.
I simply want to stay in bed. So changing. Circumstances are only part of the story our preferences change as well why well most of the plans. We make have consequences for several of our future selves.
So when we make plans we have to trade off the well being of different future selves. So we have to determine how important we find one self relative to the others we have to determine how much priority. We give to our different selves. How do we do this well in general we care less about the future than about the present.
So the further in the future. A self the less priority it gets. But what causes the gap between planning and doing is the fact that the priorities that we give to these different selves may change over time the closer we get to our future selves. The larger the priority.
We give to the sooner relative to the later selves. How does this work or apply for my alarm clock well when i set the alarm in the evening. I have to trade off the well being of at least two of my future selves..
The self who wakes up from the alarm and wants to stay in bed and the self. The later self who doesn t want to be late at a meeting in the early morning when i set the alarm. I may decide to give equal priority to both of these selves. I may decide that the discomfort of getting out of bed early is less painful than the discomfort of being late at the meeting.
So i ll decide to set the alarm relatively early. But once the alarm rings in the morning. I ll give more priority to the self who wakes up and i ll decide to stay in bed. So.
It is as if the self who wakes up puts too much priority on himself. In that sense. We could say that the self who wakes up is responsible for the gap between planning and doing. But maybe the self who sets the alarm fails to correctly anticipate how much discomfort.
I would feel when waking up from the alarm. So maybe. It is the self who sets the alarm that makes a mistake maybe. It s that self that is responsible for the gap between planning and doing and this brings me to a third reason for a disagreement between our current and our future selves.
When we make decisions with future consequences. We have to project ourselves to the future. We have to imagine how much our future selves will like what our current self decides. Today research has shown that that is really difficult for us.
We tend to overestimate how similar our future selves are to our current selves. It s called projection bias. It s as if we don t have sufficient empathy for our future selves..
So imagine doing groceries when i go to the supermarket. I buy food that will be consumed by my future selves. So what i buy should depend on what i think my future selves would like to eat. And it should not depend on my current appetite.
But if you have ever done groceries on an empty stomach. You know what happens laughter. I buy more unhealthy food on an empty than on a full stomach and i m not the only one when we prefer a cupcake to an apple right now we tend to think that we ll also prefer the cupcake to the apple in the future. But in the future.
We may well prefer the apple a disagreement between our current and our future selves. Here. We can say that the current self fails to correctly foresee. What the future self will need so here.
We could say that the current self is responsible for the gap between planning and doing we ve seen three reasons. Why we make plans that we fail to stick to circumstances may change. The priorities. We give to our different selves may change.
And it is really hard for us to guess what our future selves will need and like we cannot say that the gap between planning and doing shows that we fail to do the right things no maybe we just fail to make the right plans. So it s not clear. Which self is to blame for the gap between planning and doing the planner or the doer. But how could we close the gap well we could decide to make our plans more realistic.
We could decide to only make plans that we know that we will be able to stick to but of course. This only works if we are aware of the fact that in the future. We may want to do something different than our current self would like us to do..
But if we adopt this strategy of realistic planning. Then we are essentially shifting some decision power from our current to our future selves. Because our current self has to adjust to whatever our future self will do so when i set the alarm in the evening. I could decide to set it a bit later if i realize that setting it earlier won t make me get out of bed earlier.
But we could also decide to commit ourselves to our plans. So when i set the alarm. I could decide to put it far from my bed. So that the only way to press.
The snooze button is to get out of bed. And if i use this strategy of commitment then i essentially shift some decision power from my future to my current self because then my future self has to adjust to whatever my current self decides. Today and of course. This strategy also only works if i am aware of the possible disagreement between my current and my future selves.
So the gap between planning and doing is the result of an ongoing struggle between our different selves and it s not clear. Which self is right. But if we are aware of the gap. Then we can try to make more realistic plans and commit ourselves to our plans all in all awareness is the first step towards closing the gap.
It will make us suffer less from the tension between what we want today and what we will want tomorrow. So maybe we can find commitment devices that help us stick to health lifestyles or maybe. We can be less ambitious and make realistic plans for living healthy lives. It s up to you thank you applause.
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We all suffer from a gap between planning and doing: we make plans that we fail to carry out. This gap does not prove that we fail to do the right things – maybe we just fail to make the right plans. Ironically, the first step towards closing the gap is to realize that we cannot escape from it.r
Kirsten Rohde, Professor of Behavioral Economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam, is interested in helping people take responsibility for their own futures. Many of us suffer from a gap between planning and doing. This gap is the result of an ongoing struggle between our different selves. The talk shows that both our current and our future selves have a role when closing this gap. The current self needs to make realistic plans and the future self has to carry out these plans.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx
TEDxTalks, English, Netherlands, Life, Life Hack