Maintaining Your New Year resolution… Eep!
At the start of the year we feel motivated to create a list of New Year resolutions with a kick starting “new year, new me” attitude. From cutting out our favourite sugary treats to joining a gym, we’ve all made promises to ourselves we just didn’t have enough motivation to follow through on. Creating a new habit or skill can be challenging and keeping motivation levels high can be a test in itself.
The Self-Determination Theory
The self-determination theory addressing types of motivation can be utilised in the accomplishment of maintaining your New Year resolution. This theory suggests that an individual can range on a continuum from amotivated to intrinsically motivated. In simpler terms, the more motivated you are by intrinsic reasoning (internal rewards), the more self-determined you become.
Research suggests that both types of motivation may be beneficial at different stages of the behaviour change program (ACSM). At the beginning of your journey, it may be beneficial to consider the use of
external rewards in moderation as it can improve morale and ensure
adherence to the program. Use the success of short-term goals as a time to reward efforts (without hindering the very thing you wish to achieve). For example, a short term goal may be to run 5 km in 25 minutes. When this is achieved, I will.. ____________.
Extrinsic Rewards to Intrinsic Motivation
It is expected that the novelty of extrinsic rewards will wear off over time in replacement of intrinsic motivation. This is when an individual feels an inherent satisfaction when exercising, such as pride when completing a particularly difficult workout. Intrinsic motivation is therefore more sustainable in assisting life-time habit forming. Motivation may also be maintained by considering barriers and facilitators to exercise and physical activity. The obstacles that previously prevented attainment of fitness goals may be overcome if they are identified and addressed. Was it perceived a lack of time? Extreme weather? Boredom? Recognise these early to increase the likelihood of success!
Last but not least, attempt to keep things interesting by mixing it up. Try new classes or exercises, or even change the terrane (by the beach, in the woods or up in the mountains). Inserting a touch of variety will make maintaining your New Year resolution so much easier. Good luck!