Hyperbolic Discounting and Change

I have a number of phrases that have really connected with me over the years. They bring my focus back to what is most important when my mind wants to run off in a hundred different directions or I simply want to avoid what I need to do. One of those phrases is hyperbolic discounting.

Simply put, hyperpolic discounting is underestimating the value of an action taken today on its impact on the future. Exercise programs offer a quick example. I might want to train to run a 5K, and actually get out and run for a couple days. One morning, though, I wake up and say, "I think I'll take today off-I can make up for it tomorrow." And you see where this is going. The next day I don't run double, if I run at all. And when it's time for that 5K, I'm at home making excuses about why I couldn't be in it.

Sadly, we miss out on many professional and personal achievements because we engage in hyperbolic discounting. The degree we keep putting off, the conversation we want to have with a manager about a new position or the fishing trip with a best friend that never happens.

In what areas of your work or life are you engaging in hyperbolic discounting? Be honest with yourself and start making the necessary changes in your work or life routines. Remember, discipline and commitment are measured in ounces; disappointment and regret are measured in tons.