Improve Your Relationship with Physical Activity: Scientifically

Here are 10 principles and self-talk applications that you can choose to use to improve your relationship with physical activity. Pick one…pick up to three to use behavioral economics and improve your consistent engagement in physical activity (you may call it exercise). In no specific order:

Commitment device: I have friend waiting/counting on me

Temptation bundling: I will allow myself a healthy portion of a favorite food when I have completed my activity

Loss aversion: I should go now before it rains; it is best to invest in my current self for the benefit of my future self

Gamification: I need to keep my running streak alive (miles/year goal, or steps/day); that is the fastest length that I have swam; that is my highest power reading on the bike

Nudge: I can make it to exercise class, I am already wearing running clothes

Fresh start effect: NY resolution; redefined new self after a “close brush” with condition or in recovery

Intrinsic motivation: I love that feeling after ______ (running, exercise class, swimming)

Extrinsic motivation: Strava likes; placement in a race; support from friends

Choice architecture: Limit the burden of decision making by creating structure, “On Mondays, I swim at the club.”

Familiarity bias and friction: I am more likely to do (and continue doing) what is convenient, nearby, and familiar – start a run from your home, bike to work, choose the closest gym, equipment at a home gym that does not require setup/break-down