It’s a new year and like many people, you may have set a goal to exercise more regularly. But like most people, you’ve set this goal before only to give up on it after only a few weeks. 

Why is it so hard to make exercise a habit? And what can you do to make it stick?

My guest today argues that more willpower and discipline isn’t the answer. Instead, you need to completely change the way you think about exercise. 

Her name is Michelle Segar, and she’s a behavioral scientist and the author of No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness. We begin our conversation discussing Michelle’s counterintuitive finding that common reasons for exercising like losing weight or even getting healthier aren’t effective motivations. And she shares research on how our ideas of what exercise should look like, as well as the propensity towards an all-or-nothing mindset, also set us up for failure. We then discuss why sheer discipline isn’t very effective for staying on track either, and why exercise needs to have an immediately positive impact on our lives if we want to stick with it. Michelle and I spend the rest of our conversation discussing the research-backed framework she’s developed to help people make exercise a sustainable habit, which includes less emphasis on willpower and more on changing the meaning you lend to physical activity and its priority in your life.

Show Highlights

  • What’s the success rate of most people’s health/fitness resolutions? 
  • What is the “motivation bubble”? What happens when that bubble bursts?
  • Why our fitness motives are often contaminated (including health-related reasons)
  • The failure of willpower and discipline to keep us on track with our exercise goals 
  • The MAPS framework for building a sustainable exercise habit 
  • Why faulty meaning in our exercise can lead to a cycle of failure 
  • Making exercise work for you by giving it new meaning 
  • Why you should exercise for positive experiences in the moment rather than long-term goals 
  • The relationship between exercise, diet, and mood 
  • The role of awareness in sustaining your exercise habits 
  • Giving yourself permission to prioritize your own well-being 
  • Why learning goals are better than performance/achievement goals 
  • Figuring out how to negotiate with yourself 
  • Using the MAPS framework for other types of goals 
  • What’s something that a listener can do today to make exercise a sustainable habit 

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Connect With Michelle 

Michelle’s website

Michelle on Twitter

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The post Podcast #575: Counterintuitive Advice on Making Exercise a Sustainable Habit appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

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