When it comes to health and fitness, motivation is crucial.
Whether you’re trying to stay on a diet, exercise more, or quit smoking, you won’t be successful if you can’t maintain your determination.
Many people try to keep their mojo by getting others to advise and encourage them. So they hire experts like personal trainers, weight counselors, and life coaches.
New research shows that may be exactly the wrong strategy.1
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania gathered over 2,000 volunteers. Each was struggling with motivation in some area. They included people trying to lose weight, study harder, spend less, find a job, etc.
They put the participants through a series of experiments designed to test motivation methods.
In each experiment, participants randomly performed two tasks. For several days, participants listened to expert advice to overcome their problem. This is the kind of advice and encouragement you might get from a personal trainer or life coach.
On other days, the participants gave advice to another person with the same problem they were trying to overcome.
Giving Advice Beats Getting It Every Time
No matter what the participants were trying to accomplish, they were far more likely to maintain their motivation when they gave advice and encouragement than when they received it.2
Dr. Lauren Eskreis-Winkler is a postdoctoral student at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. She was one of the lead authors of the study.
“Flipping the paradigm from advice seeking to advice giving” is more effective when trying maintain motivation, she said.3
Giving advice improves confidence, said Dr. Eskreis-Winkler. This makes people more determined to succeed.
“Confidence in one’s ability can galvanize motivation and achievement even more than actual ability,” she said.
The research was presented in the scholarly journal MIT Sloan Management Review, which is published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The bottom line?
If you are trying to work on a particular area of your health and you find your motivation flagging, seek out others with the same problem. Maybe it’s a friend or family member. Or maybe join a support group.
Then try to help them deal with the problem that you are also trying to overcome by offering advice and encouragement.
It might give you the push you need to achieve your goal.
Editor’s Note: It’s possible to be thinner without going hungry…
Discover how to unlock your fat-burning potential HERE.