It’s really a poor long-term motivator for lifestyle change. Here’s why:
An independent perspective, fresh ideas, and third-party validation can help get you where you want to go faster, more efficiently, and often at a lower cost. But how do you know if you really need the help? Here are some clues:
“I know I need more exercise, but I just can’t stay motivated.” In wellness, we hear this a lot — from the people we serve, as well as family and friends; we may have even said it ourselves.
The problem, according to motivation scientist Michelle Segar, is that most people start with the wrong whys. In No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness (AMACOM, 2015), Dr. Segar offers a captivating case for changing the way we think about — and promote — physical activity.
[Excerpted from “Small Steps or Giant Leaps: What Works Best for Health Behavior Change?"]
1. Ditch the “small steps” nonsense.
Challenging goals lead to greater efforts and better results, which in turn are naturally motivating. When people knuckle down and achieve something difficult, they get a self-efficacy boost as well as a sense of pride and accomplishment. Setting mighty goals and taking dynamic steps give people something big to aim for and practical, progressive actions so they experience true progress.
2. Let them own the process.
Support their need for autonomy, competence, and connection. Any program or guidelines should have plenty of flexibility, opportunities for learning, and social support. A get-fit program could offer ideas, tips, resources, and a venue for connecting with others — but participants decide where and when they’ll do the fitness activities of their choice.