Everybody has at least one goal that they would like to reach. This could be relating to their fitness, diet, or overall health.
The problem is, people often believe that they simply don’t have enough motivation to reach those goals. However, research has shown that being motivated isn’t the way to accomplishing your goals at all – and there is an easy tip we can all apply to our lives in order to be successful.
This is what you have to know so that you can effectively hit those targets and get that all important sense of achievement.
How to Make a Workout Part of your Daily Routine
Interestingly, many people want to workout and have the motivation that they need in order to do so. However, the people who actually reach their targets are the people who use one very simple method.
A study was carried out to test this method. Scientists tested how often 248 people trained over a 14-day period. The participants were separated into 3 groups in order to test the effectiveness of the proposed method.
Group One: The Control Group This group were simply asked to note down how often they worked out over the following 14 days. The participants then read an irrelevant book before leaving.
Group Two: The Motivation Group The group were, again, asked to note down how often they worked out over the following 14 days. Instead of reading a book however, participants in this group were given a handout outlining the dangers of heart disease and how training can benefit their health whilst reducing heart related illnesses. This group were told, “Most young adults who have stuck to a regular exercise program have found it to be very effective in reducing their chances of developing coronary heart disease.”
The purpose of the flyer and this extra information was to motivate the participants to workout more.
Group Three: The Intention Group After being told to keep track of their workouts, they also read the same handout as Group Two and were given the same extra motivational information.
In addition to this, however, the group were also made to state a workout plan for the next week using the following template: During the next week, I will partake in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on [DAY] at [TIME OF DAY] at/in [PLACE]. All three groups were allowed to go after being given these guidelines.
The Unexpected Outcome: Is Motivation Enough?
After the 14-day period was up, the scientists were intrigued by what had occurred in the three groups:
In Group One (The Control Group) 38% of the group members worked out at least once per week. In Group Two(The Motivation Group) 35%of the group members worked out at least once per week. In Group Three (The Intention Group) a surprising 91% of participants exercised at least once per week.
Just by recording precisely when and where they expected to work out, the members of Group Three were more likely to be successful.
The other even more unexpected outcome was that even though Group Two were given the motivation to exercise, their success levels were very similar to Group One who were given no motivation at all, therefore proving that being motivated will not have enough of an impact on whether you follow through with your exercise or not.
These results are truly fascinating – mainly because we all believe that motivation is THE KEY to a regular exercise programme. But the truth is, we are all motivated on some level, and even the most motivated of people can fall off the wagon if they don’t make fixed plans to exercise.
The Best Way to Reach your Goals
Setting up a fixed plan in order to hit your targets isn’t a new revelation. In fact, other scientific studies have discovered that people who wrote down when and where they were going to perform a particular activity were significantly more likely to do it than those who did not. These studies ranged all the way from taking vitamins, to doing mammary check-ups to eating more healthily.
Remarkably, more than 100 different experiments in a variety of study areas proved the method of accountability – that writing down where and when you are going to do something makes you accountable, and therefore much more likely to achieve your goals.
We All Make Mistakes – The “If/Then” Method
Writing down your plan for the week seems like a simple enough plan, but the worst thing you can do is punish yourself if you don’t stick to what was originally planned.
The best way to deal with this is to use the “If/then” strategy so that you’re not kicking yourself after any little mistake that you make. E.g.:
If there is too much traffic and I don’t have time to exercise today, then I’ll train tomorrow morning.
If I haven’t drunk enough water by the end of the day, then tomorrow I’ll take a bottle to work.
If I have an unhealthy lunch, then I’ll make sure I have a healthy dinner.
The “if/then” method gives you an opportunity to deal with the things you weren’t expecting. Life can be full of those things, but by using this strategy you don’t have to completely discouraged by your mistakes.
The ONE Tip for Being Successful
So, now we know that being accountable, planning out your activities and writing down your exact plan is the key to success.
Motivation can be important, but it is also essential to remember that noting down your plan will make you much more likely to do your planned activities and develop good fitness, eating and life habits.