The Economics of a Smaller Butt

Exercise is good for us. It lowers our chances of contracting some heinous and hard-to-pronouce disease, it gives us energy and even improves our sex lives. So why aren’t we all high-tailing it to the gym?

Because we are busy. And tired. And because there are too many reality TV shows to watch instead.

Economists would call this bad intertemporal decision-making (deciding something today that has consequences in the future). No pilates today, clogged aterties tomorrow. Too many Negronis tonight, not enough synapses firing in the future.

Gretchen Rubin, author of the brilliant Happiness Project (the book just came out in paperback), has a solution: Exercise a little. Don’t suit up for the marathon or aspire to swim the perimeter of Manhattan every Tuesday. Just get up and do something. She’s thinking at the margin – weighing the costs and benefits of incremental change. It’s hard to get out of bed to bike to Staten Island if you live in Queens. It’s easy to get out of bed to run around the block (well, easier). 

We like her at-the-margin thinking. And her plan could also result in a smaller butt.

Posted in commitment, free time

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