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The psychology of motivation
We’ve been doing a lot of research on the psychology and science behind motivation, specifically the motivation to work out and be active. Our goal is to help people be more active with fun and convenient exercises. But just giving people dozens of routines and expecting them to suddenly become more active is unrealistic. We’re working to fix this.
Below are our findings that are informing the design of the next Wakeout.
I’d love to know… what motivates you to work out?
Only about half of US population gets recommended amount of exercise
The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of “physical activity” for general health. But according to a 2017 study only a little over half of US adults are getting there. Even though these numbers are slowly on the rise, there’s still a large portion of the population that’s missing out on the long list of benefits that come with exercising.
Most people know the benefits, however, so what’s keeping people from engaging on possibly the most beneficial activity for health and longevity there is?
What’s holding you back?
50% of people starting an exercise program will drop out.
It’s important to understand why people either drop out, or don’t start in the first place. Read the list personal barriers below and understand which of these are holding you back:
Lack of time
Lack of motivation
No support from friends, family or community
Feel too weak to exercise
Don’t know what to do, how to start
Fear of failing, quitting
Lack of energy (too hard, too tiring)
Poor self image
Guilt (time away from kids, etc)
Are you setting the right goals? Be S.M.A.R.T. about it.
Once you’ve identified your barriers, it’s important to set S.M.A.R.T goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
Specific: don’t focus on weight or looks. Instead, set a “result” goal that’s very clear, like “I want to go up 5 flights of stairs” or “I want to run a half marathon.” These are clear, specific goals with a purpose.
Measurable: The importance of measurable goals like the examples above is that you can measure progress . You’re going up more and more stairs towards your goal. You’re running half a mile farther, etc. Seeing progress is motivating.
Attainable: Set goals that are just at the edge of your reach based on your current fitness level. Challenge yourself, but don’t make the challenge so overwhelming that it’s easy to justify quitting.
Realistic: Know what’s holding you back. Understand your own personal challenges and work with that. There’s no shame in having limitations, we all do. What’s important is that you work with what you have to achieve your personal goals.
Timely: Have a timeframe. Set a date for that goal. “Eventually” or “soon” are motivation killers. Deadlines are energizing.
Are you focused on the right things?
Research shows that people that focus too much on physical goals drop out faster than people with more sustainable goals: being healthy. Focus on improving your health, your mood, your wellbeing, your self-worth and your longevity. Six packs come and go. Being a happy, energized person stays with you forever.
Are you giving yourself the right kind of rewards?
When it comes to being more active, the best rewards are intrinsic. Taking a moment every week to review all the progress you’ve made, and to acknowledge how much better you feel is the best way to reward yourself. Don’t go out and buy a big ol’ cake as a reward for all the hard work you’ve put in.
Set yourself up for success by starting small
If you’re not an active person, working out can be a kin to torture. It’s painful, extremely difficult and the resulting muscle sore is crippling. It makes sense why so many people quit. It’s just not fun.
The best way to ensure you stick to your physical activity goals is to set yourself up for success by starting slow and making it fun and enjoyable. That’s why we designed Wakeout . Start with one 3-minute routine. Then a 5-minute routine the next day. Build up slowly. Have fun in the process.
Don’t make it a chore
If being active requires you do commute or spend time in traffic to go to a gym, you’re more likely to quit. Instead, start at home or at work, wherever you can squeeze in a little activity. Make it compulsive. Make it part of your life. Make it simple and convenient.
So what now?
This isn’t about being a fitness model or looking like a bodybuilder. It’s about being healthy. It’s about having the energy to do whatever you want to do in life.
We’re excited about applying our findings to Wakeout in order to help you live an active life and achieve your goals. More details on the next update soon.