Though we all have guilty pleasures, our day-to-day decisions are usually governed by a deep-seated sense that we'd be better off in the long run if we favored work over leisure, necessities over luxuries, and saving money over impulsively spending it. But would we be happier?
Our research shows that forgoing indulgences today can feed strong regrets later, and that near-term regrets about self-indulgence dramatically fade with time. These responses are so strong that we were able to influence people's buying behavior simply by asking them to anticipate their long-term regrets.
Keinan, Anat, and Ran Kivetz. "When Virtue Is a Vice." Harvard Business Review (July 2008).
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