When it comes to improving our health and wellbeing, we know that there is no one ‘perfect’ solution or a one-size-fits-all plan that can help us to achieve our goals.
As experienced coaches we know that it isn’t a question about which training or nutrition plan works the best. It is really about finding the best programme for you and the one that becomes habit forming and lifestyle changing.
A recent Meta-Analysis study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Johnston et al. 2014) looked at different weight loss plans and discovered that there was no significant difference between the success of one programme versus another. It all came down to the individual’s motivation that determined the effectiveness of the programme.
Much of the time when we decide to embark on a new fitness regime or weight loss plan, it is the external (Extrinsic Motivation) factors that tend to drive and influence us to begin.
Extrinsic motivation are behaviours that occur from outside the individual.
For example –
- You’ve decided that you want to get fit just because its January and that’s what everyone else is doing at this time of year.
- You’ve been told by a Dr that you need to start exercising to lose weight and improve your health.
- A family member, friend or work colleague asks you to join the gym and you start out by working towards their goals and not your own.
- Someone makes a negative remark or comment about your body / appearance and you decide to take action on the back of their words.
Whilst there’s nothing wrong with extrinsic motivation and we all need a bit of it, it’s questionable if these external factors and reasons can be sustainable and work for you in the long term?
Most of the research today and even from our own experience, have discovered that it’s the internal factors (Intrinsic Motivation) that will bring about your long term success and adherence.
Intrinsic motivation occurs within the individual and is about applying behaviours simply because you enjoy and value them.
For example –
- You eat healthy because it makes you feel good.
- You want to have a better quality of life and live longer.
- You enjoy the exercise and physical activity that you do because it’s fun.
- You enjoy cooking and get satisfaction from creating meals to keep you and your family healthy.
- You enjoy the social aspect of the exercise or physical activity that you do.
- You enjoy the positive environment and atmosphere that your coaches create and as a result, it promotes your adherence and consistency to keep taking part.
You may even find that your coaches and trainers help you to discover your intrinsic motivation?
Write down your goals and all the reasons that you can think of. It may just highlight some of those positive and intrinsic values that will put you on the path to success, rather than it just being about weight loss or getting fit because it’s a New Year.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Ultimately it’s about you and not about the diet or training programme.
Keep active, enjoy doing it.
Neil & Mark