In last week's post, I told you all about the intention-behaviour gap. If you missed it, you can read it here.
I left you with the task (if you so choose to accept it) to watch for all the causes of your physical activity intention-behaviour gap and write them out for yourself.
How did that go?
Now, you know. So what can you do about it?
Maybe you aren't so sure.
But let me tell you what the recent research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine says. It sheds light on the psychological factors contributing to the intention-behaviour gap in physical activity.
The study suggests that a significant factor behind this gap is the concept of "implementation intentions". These are specific plans that link situational cues to actions, enabling individuals to convert their intentions into behaviour more effectively.
The study found that participants who formulated clear implementation intentions were more successful in adhering to their exercise plans.
🎉 WooWho! 🎉
For example, rather than a vague intention to "exercise more," participants who set specific implementation intentions such as "I will go for a 30-minute walk every morning before breakfast" were more likely to follow through with their actions.
Being specific is key!
Here are eight tips to take your turning your intentions into physical activity:
1.Set Implementation Intentions: 🗓 Building on the new research, include specific implementation intentions in your physical activity plans. For instance, set a schedule that links exercise to particular times or events during your day, making it easier to integrate exercise into your routine.
2. Start small and build momentum: 🤏🏼 Begin with achievable goals and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Celebrate small successes to boost motivation. Not sure what to do? This video will unpack the formula for success.
3. Create a routine: 📆 Establish a consistent exercise schedule that aligns with your daily life. Treating physical activity as a non-negotiable appointment can help form a lasting habit.
4. Find activities you enjoy: 😄 If you dislike a particular form of exercise, it will be challenging to stick with it. Explore different activities until you discover something that sparks joy and keeps you engaged.
5. Accountability and support: 👯♀️ Partner up with a friend or join a fitness class. Working with a professional like me can help support you in a tailored plan that is both gradual and achievable. Having someone to share your exercise journey with can provide encouragement and accountability.
6. Be kind to yourself: 💗 Accept that occasional setbacks are normal and part of the process. Avoid self-criticism and instead focus on progress and self-improvement.
7. Break it down: ⬇️ If time is an issue, break your exercise sessions into shorter bouts throughout the day. Even ten minutes of activity can contribute to your overall fitness. Learn more about time blocking in this video.
8. Visualize success: 👏🏼 Imagine yourself being active, feeling energized, and reaping the benefits of regular exercise. Visualization can help reinforce your commitment and determination.
The intention-behaviour gap in physical activity is a common obstacle that most people face on their wellness journey.
I’m not immune to it either!
However, the new research from the British Journal of Sports Medicine offers valuable insights into overcoming this gap by incorporating specific implementation intentions.
Let’s embrace the power of consistency, perseverance, and self-compassion on our path to a more active and fulfilling life.
Stay well and happy moving,
Missed my most recent newsletter? Don't worry, I've got your back. Find all my exclusive letters here on this blog. ~Lisa