|Source: Gold Dust Dental Lab|
"In this study, we want to help you learn about an effective hack or strategy that someone you know uses as motivation to exercise. Over the next 2 days, we’d like you to pay attention to how people you know get themselves to work out. If you want, you can ask them directly for their motivational tips and strategies."
In other words, participants had to actively seek out goal achievement strategies from people they knew. They compared the behavior of participants receiving these instructions to a control group, as well as a group that passively received advice on how to meet exercise goals. In short, encouraging people to benchmark and learn from others is an effective way to nudge them toward putting in the work to achieve their goals. It's much better to encourage them to ask for advice rather than telling them what to do. It's simple and intuitive, and it's not a costly intervention. The scholars discovered that,
"A brief and virtually costless copypaste prompt improved goal-directed outcomes over the following week. Specifically, this nudge led to greater increases in the amount of time spent exercising than did passively receiving a strategy of similar quality, highlighting the value of actively finding goal-related strategies among one’s peers."
Why did this simple strategy prove effective? They provide several reasons.
1. Examining the effective strategies of peers raises the probability that individuals will actually employ advice. Moreover, hearing what works for their peers increases people's beliefs in their own abilities to achieve certain goals.
2. The advice may be more "customized and goal-relevant" since the individuals chose the peers from whom they wanted to learn.
3, People feel a sense of empowerment and autonomy when they seek out information and advice themselves, rather than being told what to do.