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The Science Behind Why We Procrastinate—and How to Stop the Cycle

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You know you have to do that speed workout to hit your goals, or turn in that work project before Friday, or make that dentist appointment they keep reminding you about. And yet, you don’t.

Procrastination is something all humans do—there’s a reason post offices are open until midnight on tax filing day—but why do we drag our feet even on seemingly easy tasks? A recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology suggests it all has to do with how we blend anticipation, excitement, and dread.

In an experiment, researchers asked 171 participants to eat jelly beans that ranged in flavor from delicious to disgusting—some tasted like orange sherbet and watermelon, but others like dirt or rotten eggs. People tended to feel impatient and excited about eating the good-tasting ones, and not only dreaded the awful ones but also disliked the feeling of having to wait to eat them.

Not surprisingly, this shows that people want to have good things now and delay bad things, and it’s the anticipation of both positive and negative tasks that drive our behavior, according to study co-author David Hardisty, Ph.D., assistant professor in the marketing and behavioral science division of the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business.

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a person running on a trail in a forested areaPhoto by Lakota Gambill

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Click the link below for the article:

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-science-behind-why-we-procrastinate-and-how-to-stop-the-cycle?utm_source=pocket_discover

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