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Psychology Today: 3 Techniques to Use If Motivation Is a Barrier to Exercise

When it comes to motivation, we need direction and guidance to implement the behaviors we want to do. We need to increase our strength to go against the counterproductive impulses we may have in order to overcome barriers to exercise. To motivate ourselves, we should increase the role of automatic motivation.  Behavior change techniques should target the sources of influence that are affecting the determinant that needs improvement. In an interview with NPR, Katherine Milkman said she found a way to pair what she wanted to do (indulge in Harry Potter) with what she needed to do (exercise). One way to make the behavior more attractive is to link something you want to do with something you know you should do. Milkman loved fantasy books and was only allowed to listen to them while she was in the gym. She paired something she had to do with something she wanted to do, and it worked. Milkman calls this”technique temptation bundling”. With temptation bundling, think of either something enjoyable you can do while you exercise or think of a reward that is contingent upon you exercising. In addition to temptation bundling, widening the options and having a behavioral contract are also other ways to overcome barriers to exercise. Learn more about the determinants of behavior at Psychology Today.