Lorn Healthy Options weekly health tip – October 21

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The Goldilocks Rule

How to stay motivated with your activity programme.

The question of how we design habits that maintain our enthusiasm rather than allowing it to fade has been well researched.  One consistent finding is that to maintain high levels of desire we should set ourselves tasks that are ‘just manageable’.

The human brain loves a challenge but only when it’s within a perceived optimal zone of difficulty. For example, I’m an enthusiastic road cyclist and have really enjoyed competing with equally talented friends and colleagues in the hills of northern England and Scottish Borders before moving to the West Coast.

If I was to compete against my six-year-old I would find it too easy and get bored and if I was to line up against Tour de France winner Chris Froome I’d probably soon be in a different postcode! So, taking on a task where we are challenged but have a realistic chance of success is a sweet spot where distractions fade, motivation soars and you become truly invested in the job at hand.

Peak motivation occurs when we challenge ourselves on the edge of our ability levels.  Not too hard, not too easy, just right. This is a strategy we regularly use at Healthy Options once our clients feel more comfortable with basic movement patterns and technique to maintain small advancements in fitness levels and encourage a flow state which is more commonly referred to as ‘in the zone’.

So, when it comes to your activity patterns try setting a challenge that pushes you to the edge of what you are currently capable of (not beyond). Also try to set novel challenges which will keep them attractive and satisfying. Variety is the spice of life and without a regular change of focus physical activity can become boring and boredom can be the arch enemy of self-improvement.

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

Rob Graham, Lead Exercise Professional, Healthy Options.