The fact that you are here in my community speaks to the fact that you are well aware that physical activity is undoubtedly one of the most critical components of a healthy lifestyle.
However, despite this knowledge, you may very well struggle to translate your intentions to be physically active into consistent behaviour.
Any show of hands here?
This phenomenon is known as the "intention-behaviour gap."
The intention-behaviour gap refers to the discrepancy between what we plan or intend to do and what we actually end up doing.
You may be thinking to yourself, "been there, done that…"
So, for instance, you may genuinely desire to exercise regularly but find yourself repeatedly skipping workouts or struggling to adhere to a physical activity routine. This gap between intent and action can be a frustrating and demotivating experience, causing you to feel like you lack willpower or discipline.
None of us are immune to this gap.
You may recognize the main causes of the intention-behaviour gap as:
Unrealistic expectations: Setting overly ambitious exercise goals can be counterproductive. While aiming high is commendable, starting with manageable objectives increases the likelihood of success and avoids feelings of failure or inadequacy. Not sure what is realistic? Working with a professional like me can help support you in a customized plan that is both manageable and realistic.
Lack of habit formation: Habits are powerful drivers of behaviour. When physical activity becomes an ingrained habit, the need for willpower diminishes, making it easier to stay consistent.
Time constraints: Modern life is often busy and hectic, leaving little room for physical activity. Failing to find time for exercise can lead to the intention-behaviour gap. Watch this video all about time blocking your schedule!
External factors: Weather conditions (sun, smoke, rain, snow, we have all the seasons!), work commitments, or family responsibilities can interfere with planned exercise routines, causing you to abandon your intentions.
Psychological barriers: Negative beliefs or past experiences with physical activity can create mental blocks, making it challenging to turn intention into action. Did you read last week's post? This was a perfect example of this!
And I am sure there are likely more!
So you may be thinking, "what can I do about it?"
First and foremost, start to become aware of it!
It is easy to let physical activity plans slip to the way side. Begin to notice when you've set unrealistic expectations or when life gets so crazy busy that you barely feel like you are keeping up. Notice the stories you tell yourself about the weather and how it gets in your way of moving your body. And likely most importantly, watch how your past, present and future thinking stops your intention for action.
Once you become aware of it, then begin to take note.
I mean literally write it down in a journal or notebook or even on a bright sticky note. How many of these barriers are getting in your way?
Stay tuned for next week's post where I will delve more into the concept of the intention-behaviour gap, offering practical strategies to bridge the divide and all supported by new research from the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
I love a good research study.
Now go forward into your week watching for all those things (even ones not on the list above) that are making your intention to behaviour gap larger than you'd like! And if you care to share, reply to this email and tell me, what is your #1 cause?
Stay well and happy moving,
👋🏼 Psst...before I go...I'm working on some pretty amazing offerings for this Fall! Keep your eyes on the posts over the next month to see what I have in store!
Missed my most recent newsletter? Don't worry, I've got your back. Find all my exclusive letters here on this blog. ~Lisa