8.19.2011

Self Behavior Modification

So as I work on getting in shape, I worry about maintaining motivation. There have been a number of failed attempts prior in my (not that long) life and I'd rather not fail again. So I am busting out behavior modification all over myself to make it work. There are some great tips here, and I've listed out some of my other methods of personal mind control.

(not necessarily in any order)
1) Visibility-I want to be reminded of my goals and what I know I should be doing. So everything stays visible. My box of exercise gear (yoga stuff, balance stuff, aerobics shoes) is right beside the TV, so I always see it. If there's an exercise DVD that I want to concentrate on, I'll prop the case up by the xbox so it's easily seen. We have no garage at the moment, so the bikes are sitting right beside the table. I bought anti-chlorine shampoo for post-swim workouts and put it in the front of my shampoo container so I see it every time I walk in the bathroom. You could also place motivational notes to yourself in various places.

2) Ease of access- Since most things are visible, they're easily accessed. I have Netflix streaming and leave all the workout routines in a block so they're easier to locate. The running shoes stay near the door and untied. I keep my water bottle filled and in the fridge. All the workout clothes are in the same drawer, and if I'm planning on going to the pool I'll put all that stuff in a bag together. Generally keeping necessary accessories (say that 3x fast) together makes life easier, for example, the bike helmet is on the handlebars. I'm a bum, the easier it is, the more likely it is to be done.

3) Guilt- Is this a healthy motivator? I don't know. But I use it. Thinking about the cost of items, and that I really should use them, is sometimes helpful. Thinking about how long it has been since doing an activity is also something I do. And in the part guilt/part competition factor, if my husband/workout buddy is doing something, I will try to go along and keep up.

4) Mental monitoring- A recent study showed that people who just mentally asked themselves "how often will I work out this week?" worked out more often than the control group. (sorry, no link) So I try to think about my exercise schedule, and try to think how I will fit things in for the following day. I also am trying to keep a journal with short entries about what I did and how I feel. Keeping a written record gives me something to look back at for motivation.

5) Rewards- I am all for cheap, easy thrills as rewards. I have a smart phone and use the free CardioTrainer app for my exercise recording. Every time I turn it on, I can see a little activity figure for each day that week I did any kind of exercise. I like the little stick figures and think that they're cute, and like to see a variety of them on that screen. It keeps a full history, so I can look back and see how many total miles I have gone since starting the app and the calories for each. I can also see the maps of my outdoor exercise, which I think is cool. Finally, there's a widget for my screen that turns different colors based on # calories burned/week. I see it frequently when using my phone and always try to keep it in the gold/silver/bronze range. I definitely get a little emotional boost when I see a good color.

So that's a few of the ways that I've been manipulating myself lately. Nice to see that I'm making use of my education. Any other good tricks that you use? Feel free to share in the comments.

2 comments:

carrtommy said...

Hi, is there a way to send you an email or can I only leave comments here - sorry if this is off-topic!

Cheryl said...

I operate from otnotes (at) gmail