Tuesday, July 19, 2011

30 Days of Blogging: Finding your Motivation

"Need your workout mojo jump started? Sweet treat temptations, heat waves, and unexpected trips to the beach; they can all make your workout mood fizzle out and die. Research has been done on the psychology of motivation and it says that when your drive to sweat is at an all time low, the fix can be as simple as changing your approach. 

Draft a Commitment ContractWhy do you workout? Maybe it’s the endorphin boosting, waist trimming benefits that come with it. This has been known to be called intrinsic motivation and it is critical, especially if you plan on sticking to a long term routine. When your inner drive is disillusioned (Girls night vegging out? A road trip with some of your closest friends?), external incentives can give you that needed boost.

            Incentives can work like a charm, especially for girls (a 30 minute jog each day for a month= new Fendi bag) but behavioral economists suggest that penalties for a missed sweat session can be more effective…especially when it involves your own cash. Try it: Go to http://www.stickk.com/ and register your goals and credit card info. If you don’t do a predetermined number of workouts, the charity of your choice gets a payday, thanks to you. Or perhaps you would rather make a friendly wager among co-workers or some of your closest friends: Everyone cashes in $10 and whoever logs in the most workout sessions over three months wins the pot. This is the best of both worlds because you have a financial prize and punishment in place simultaneously. Make sure it is a big group though. The less people you have, the more prone you are to letting each other slack off.

In behavioral economics, these are called commitment contracts; they work by removing and reducing choices.

80 Percentage of people who are more likely to work out if they have an exercise partner

Line up Reinforcements            Research has shown another psychological factor that affects your drive: your pride. According to some Penn State braniacs, simply having a supportive friend, family member, or significant other makes you more likely to stick with your regimen. This kind of help has an intrinsic effect as well: A new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology shows that when you share a triumph with someone else (getting through a Cross Fit class, finishing a 5/10K, starting a new yoga class, etc.) and they respond enthusiastically, your perceived value of that event increases and you may become more invested in it.

            By sharing workout success, you are cementing the idea that exercising is part of your identity, which can help you stay on your path.

Make it Personal            Motivation is ultimately “to each their own.” And sometimes it takes drastic measures. Check out a New York Times blog, Freakonomics where two doctors share an example of a woman who placed a five pound blob of faux fat (Oh yes she did. Fake body fat.) next to her refrigerator as a reminder not to OD on snacks and portion sizes. Disgusting? Yup. Effective? It can be. “If you respond to scare tactics, talk about instant motivation to get in a jog or put down that ice cream!” says Ian Ayers, an economist and professor at Yale University.

            Bottom line? It is all about finding out what you enjoy and what gets you going. Try as many trails, machines, and classes you can. Somewhere between spinning and swimming you will click with an activity or two. Spend your workout time doing these type of exercises and you are much more likely to bank in those sweat sessions. Actually enjoying your workout makes it that much easier to invest in.

Log On, Belly Off            Looking for a great support system to help you stick with your workout? According to a study, sitting in front of a screen can actually help you slim down- as long as it’s a computer screen. Overweight subjects used a specially designed weight loss maintenance website to record their sessions and track their progress at least weekly for two years. They had the ability to send questions to experts in fitness and nutrition. These people were more successful at maintaining their new found passions than those who logged on less often. Perhaps because they were able to see their progress, which only reinforced their commitment to eating well and exercising." If you are looking for something like this to enter your life ASAP, try these amazing websites:

Beach Body


The Biggest Loser


Thank you Women's Health for many of the posts I will be putting up in the next 30 days. Many of the posts are taken from their Summer Ultimate Shape-Up Guide; just figure I would post some of them so you all don't have to go out and buy a copy! Women's Health always have great information and ideas to inspire women to become more fit, healthy, and happy!

So go find your motivation...on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

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