Psychology of MovementThe importance of feeling competent
With exercise it can be tempting to want to overhaul everything and go big on ‘changing your ways’.
But jumping straight into the deep end with a big goal isn’t always a good idea.
Firstly for many, the disparity between where you are now and where you want to be can become discouraging.
And secondly, it encourages us to think we need to make big changes in order to see results.
Instead we need to start small
This is because:
- We mainly operate on autopilot through automatic, habitual behaviours
- Energy is needed for conscious, controlled processes such as working, planning and problem-solving. Therefore any big changes are likely to be more demanding of energy. When that energy depletes, it’s more likely that what we are trying to do becomes a lot harder.
- It’s easy to feel confident at the beginning of a change. But changes that seem easy at first become harder as we face obstacles in daily life whether it’s time, the weather or levels of motivation.
Instead, it’s better to focus on feeling competent doing the necessary small behaviours that add up over time to have a big impact. Having realistic expectations of what’s possible in your life and focusing on immediately controllable things is absolutely key.
To help with this ask yourself…
- What tiny steps can you commit to making right now towards your goal that you are 8/10 confident that you could do? Write a list of these very specific steps.
- Then pick just 1 or 2 at a time to focus on. Write what you have chosen down somewhere obvious whether it’s your phone notes, your diary, on a post-it note or setting a reminder.
- Do this until it has become easy, or even better automatic.
These steps may feel small, but they are not insignificant and accumulate over time to lead to have a big impact.