Fitness Motivation In 4 Proven Ways
4 Scientifically Proven Ways To Get Motivated To Workout
Economists and psychologists have been studying how to crack the code of what compels us to repeatedly do something we don’t always want to do. You can get yourself motivated to make a difference with these 4 science-backed hacks.
1. Give yourself a REAL reward
"Weight control" or "better health" could be enough for you, but it doesn't work for everyone. Journalist Charles Duhigg, author of "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business", advises making the benefits of working out more tangible. Treat yourself to a smoothie, or an episode of a new show on Netflix.
Duhigg describes creating a neurological "habit loop" which means:
1. A cue to trigger the behavior (wearing your Nikes, or organizing your workout gear on your top drawer)
2. The routine (making it through the workout)
3. And then give yourself the reward (the more tangible the better)
“An extrinsic reward is so powerful because your brain can latch on to it and make the link that the behavior is worthwhile,” he explains. “It increases the odds the routine becomes a habit.”
You'll train your brain to recognize that the workout itself is the reward and you won’t even want the treat (but we're okay with both!)
2. Don't promise yourself. Sign a Commitment Contract
You've likely promised yourself hundreds of things that you've never followed through with and that's normal. Research shows we’re more likely to follow through with pledges when we make them in front of friends.
“It’s a simple notion of changing the cost,” explains Jeremy Goldhaber-Fiebert, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at Stanford University who studies health decision science. “I say I’m going to make a commitment to do something for a certain amount of time, such as exercising 30 minutes three times a week for 12 weeks. If I don’t do that, I’m going to pay some kind of penalty, whether it’s monetary or the embarrassment of having friends know I didn’t live up to my word.”
Sign contracts, memberships, and say them out loud. They work. Get yourself past the initial experience of displeasure in order to recognize the longer-term benefits. Push through.
3. Positive Thinking & Visualization
You'll hear a lot of your friends claiming that when they visualize the benefits of their workout, it helps motivate them. Just visualizing their muscles developing or wearing what they always dreamed gets them moving. For this to work for everyone, Gabriele Oettingen, PhD, psychologist at New York University says we need to take a step further.
Once you identify your wish and visualize the outcome, you have to identify what’s holding you back — a technique she calls “mental contrasting.”
'In a study of 51 female students who claimed they wanted to eat fewer junk food snacks, researchers asked each woman to imagine the benefits of nibbling on better foods. Those who identified the trigger that made healthful snacking difficult for them — and came up with a plan to reach for fruit when cravings hit — were most successful at sticking to their goal.'
No time to go to the gym after or before work? Switch to lunchtime workouts. Or feeling like that's not possible? Use Handstand and solve what's holding you back, in a tap. No wasted time, and what's more? Our fitness professionals will keep you on track and let you know how to reach your goals in ways you didn't know possible.
4. Pay Yourself Money
Use money as your motivation. Research looking at monetary incentives and exercise found that people who were paid to workout doubled their attendance rate. This can work for you too - pay yourself after every workout (and then go splurge on a new item you've had your eye on. Win, win).
In any situation, you know you've succeeded when you can't imagine skipping your workout. Call it what you wish, you're improving your mind and body on a regular basis and you'll feel those rewards everywhere you go.
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