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04 July 2020

Being a copy-cat might make it easier to achieve fitness goals

It seems like copying your peers can make it easier for you to incorporate new exercise programmes into your routine, according to a study.

  • A consumer study found that people were more likely to stick to their goals if they copied the strategy of a friend or acquaintance
  • They analysed data of participants who wanted to exercise more, and those who copied an exercise routine from someone they know performed much better
  • Men also seemed to respond better to the copy-paste prompt

Struggling to keep to your fitness goals? Or are there any other life goals eluding your grasp?

Well according to new research, the key is to copy those around you.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania looked at a new method to nudge people to achieve their goals – a "copy-paste" prompt.

One of the reasons why people struggle to reach their goals is due to a gap in information on how to achieve these goals, and while a mentor strategy is one proposal to overcome it, it has some limitations.

READ: Lost your motivation to eat healthy and exercise during the pandemic? You are not alone

Men more amenable

They divided 1 028 participants into three groups looking to exercise more. One group was told to find a routine themselves used by someone they know, one was given a routine by the researchers and another group was just instructed to reach their goals however they wanted.

In ten days, the first group proved to be more dedicated to their goals, sticking better with the routine than the other two groups.

They spent 55.8 and 32.5 more minutes exercising than those with no direction and those with a provided exercise hack respectively.

Men also seemed to be more amenable to the copying method.

ALSO READ: Video games may sabotage fitness among college students

“The benefits of copy-paste prompts are mediated by the usefulness of the adopted exercise strategy, commitment to using it, the effort put into finding it, and the frequency of social interaction with people who exercise regularly,” write the researchers.

Applicable to other life goals

While we live in a social media world where it’s easy to follow people’s journeys to their various personal goals, many people forget that they can follow their peers’ examples, and might need a nudge towards copying others to reach their own goals.

The method’s social aspect is another benefit, and could help provide support networks on the way to achieving goals. The effort of researching methods themselves also seemed to give participants an ego boost, motivating their exercising efforts.

Outside of fitness, they posit that this copying method can also be applied to other life goals, like academia, careers, and financial goals.

However, it’s important to note that participants were enticed with monetary gains if they completed the whole process, which might skew motivations for completing their tasks. The study also doesn’t account for long-term benefits of this method.

Still, this might be one time where peer pressure could be to your benefit.

READ: How to train safely outdoors during winter

Image credit: Pixabay

 
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