Lorn Healthy Options weekly health tip – September 16

Rob Graham, lead exercise professional at Healthy Options.

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The Commitment Device

When it comes to paying for a gym membership I have always suggested that our clients pay via a direct debit.

I guess many would accuse me of maximising income potential, but my reasoning lies firmly in a behaviour change strategy known as a commitment device.

A commitment device is a choice you make in the present which has far reaching impacts on your future. It’s a way of trying to lock in good behaviours and restrict bad ones by taking advantage of good intentions before temptation leads us off track.

The key is to make sure that it takes more energy and effort to get out of the good habit than to just let it happen. So, when I suggest that folk pay for a gym membership via DD I see it as a way of making a long term commitment to physical activity and the proven and wide ranging benefits I know they will experience.

Certain forms of commitment device are actions that will pay off again and again.  Sometimes these actions take a bit more effort up front but then increase in value over time.

If you are trying to reduce your calorific intake reduce the size of your plates, if you are struggling to get a comfortable night’s sleep, buy a new mattress. If you wake up earlier than you would like, get some black out blinds, and make sure the phone is set to silent. If you are watching too much TV late into the evening remove all devices from the bedroom and perhaps set up a timer plug that switches it off automatically at 10pm. If you want to increase your physical activity, get a dog, invest in a bike or what about that gym membership?

These actions have the potential to create an environment of positive inevitability and not rely on willpower in the moment.  They will pay you back time and again and take you closer to the person you would like to be, and the life you would like to lead.

For the full message go to the free resource section on the lornhealthyoptions.co.uk website.

Rob Graham, Lead Exercise Professional, Healthy Options.