Find the Fun!

It turns out that Mary Poppins was right when she said “in every job that must be done there is an element of fun, find that fun and snap the jobs a game.”


One question that is continually asked in the field of psychology is: “Why do people not do things that are in their own best interest?” We see this all the time in our daily lives, yet it is especially significant in our health behaviors. An interesting aspect of the decision-making process is that we usually know what we should be doing and yet, we continue to make poor decisions. For instance, we take the escalator when we know the stairs burn more calories, diabetics wait over a year to begin insulin treatment and patients at risk for heart disease resist changing their lifestyle.   

So how do we get motivated to make the right decisions? We simply need to be reminded that we do in fact have a decision to make. One study placed a sign in between an escalator and stairs at a public transit station in downtown San Francisco. The sign was simple and did not imply any favor for using the stairs or the escalator. The sign simply brought the choice to the attention of the participants. Interestingly, more people began using the stairs instead of the escalator.

One way that we can bring greater attention to our decision making process is through games. In games we are voluntarily and actively engaged in activities that are physically or mentally strenuous, sometimes both. In fact, we often seek out strenuous activities that we see as playing. For that reason we should use games to motivate ourselves in everyday life. Games not only bring our attention to the choices that we are making but can also help motivate us in the decision making process.

In order to make the best decisions in our own lives we simply need to find something that will bring that decision to the front of our minds and keep it there such as games, signs or any number of reminders.

Written by:

Alyssa Wicker