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Nudge theory
Naluri5 min read

How to Self-Nudge to Achieve Your Health Goals

Have you ever wondered why the tempting aroma of fresh-baked bread lingers near the store entrance, urging you to add that extra loaf to your cart? Or how candy bars always seem to find their way into your cart while waiting in line at the checkout counter? 

It's not chance; it’s the art of nudging at play. Store layouts strategically position items to influence your choices. Similarly, think about the last time you scrolled through social media—the timely notifications reminding you to engage with the app weren’t accidental. They were nudges, subtle prompts encouraging you to spend more time on their platform. From healthier cafeteria choices and energy conservation incentives to the way cities are designed, nudging is everywhere, quietly shaping decisions and influencing society’s behaviour.

But here's the fascinating part: the power of nudging isn't confined to stores and screens—it's a tool you can use to positively change your behaviour. Imagine setting up an environment that nudges you towards healthier eating habits, such as placing a bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter instead of a cookie jar or keeping a water bottle within arm's reach to encourage hydration throughout the day. These simple adjustments can make a significant difference in improving your overall wellbeing. 

By strategically designing your surroundings and routines to encourage positive behaviours, you can nudge yourself towards personal growth and fulfilment. It's about recognising the subtle influences and harnessing them to create a life that aligns with your desired health state.

To help you meet your health goals, we will discuss what nudge theory is, how it works, and how it can help change your behaviours to improve your overall wellbeing.


What is nudge theory?

Nudge theory is all about making it easier for you to make a change by creating an environment that supports positive decision-making. 

To put it into simple words, a nudge is nothing but a simple, subtle cue that encourages you to make choices that align with your desired outcomes without feeling forced or restricted. It does not involve any form of punishment or limitation of your freedom, but rather, makes the decision-making process more manageable and easier to navigate.


How does nudge theory work?

Nudge theory works by using subtle prompts or suggestions to influence your behaviour in a positive way. It is based on the idea that people are more likely to make certain choices if those choices are made more accessible or more appealing. 

This can be achieved through modifying the decision-making environment, using preset defaults, or changing how attributes are presented to highlight the options that you want to choose. Think of it as a gentle “nudge" in the right direction.


Examples of nudge theory

Now that you know what nudge theory is and how it works, here are some nudge theory examples:

  • Leave yourself reminders and prompts

If you want to start a new habit, such as exercising regularly, leaving reminders and prompts around your home or office can help. For example, leave your workout clothes out where you can see them or set a reminder on your phone to go for a walk during your lunch break.

  • Reframe your perspective

How you frame a decision or task can have a big impact on how you approach it. For example, instead of thinking of exercising as a chore, reframe it as a way to boost your energy and mood. This can make exercising more appealing and motivating, especially on the days when your motivation is low!

  • Make things hard to get

This may seem counterintuitive, but making things more difficult to access can increase their perceived value. For example, if you put those sweet treats in a hard-to-reach place, you may be less likely to reach for them and more likely to choose the healthier options that are more accessible.

  • Reward yourself

It's important to reward yourself for your progress along the way! This can keep your motivation levels high and make the process more enjoyable. For example, if you've been sticking to a new exercise routine for a month, treat yourself to a massage or buy a new workout gear. This can help reinforce positive behaviours and make it more likely that you’ll stick to your goals in the long run.

  • Have a strong support system

One of the most effective ways to stay motivated and achieve your goals is to have a support system that will hold you accountable. This could be a friend, family member, colleague, or even a professional coach or mentor who can help you stay on track and provide encouragement when you need it.


How to apply nudge theory

Practising self-nudging doesn’t take that much effort, so let’s dive into how to apply nudge theory to your daily life:

  • Identify your health goals

To improve your own behaviour through self-nudging, start by identifying specific health goals that you want to achieve. Be clear and specific about the outcomes you hope to accomplish. You can use the SMART goals framework to ensure that your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. 

  • Analyse and audit your current state

Once you have determined your goals, the next step is to analyse and audit your current habits and environment. This will help you understand your existing patterns and identify any obstacles that may be hindering the desired behaviour. It's essential to perform a behavioural audit to understand your current habits, identify any obstacles to achieving your goals, and help you tailor your nudges to be more effective.

  • Develop your self-nudges

Choose self-nudges that align with your goals and the characteristics of your environment. These nudges may include setting reminders, creating visual cues, or using positive self-talk. Different nudges work for different people, so find what works best for you!

  • Start self-nudging

Now, it's time to start nudging yourself! Try out these nudges for a short period of time to see whether they help influence your intended behaviour. If not, don’t worry; you can always tweak your nudges until you see the desired outcome!

  • Always reflect and make adjustments if needed

Don’t forget to reflect on your nudging and see if you need to make any adjustments, especially if your nudges aren’t achieving the desired outcome. With a little patience, persistence, and the right nudges, you can successfully change your behaviour and achieve your goals.


In conclusion, self-nudging is a great tool that can help you improve your own behaviour and achieve your personal health goals. By making small, subtle changes to your environment, you can encourage positive decision-making and make it easier to reach your desired outcomes. So, the next time you want to drive change in your personal life, remember the power of self-nudging and how it can help you achieve your goals!

If you need more personalised guidance on achieving your health goals, Naluri Health Coaches are here to provide you with the support you need. Book a consultation or chat with a Naluri Health Coach today.

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