Are you experiencing difficulty in attending the gym and don’t know how to change it? This article will explain some behavioural change techniques you can utilise to help to improve your commitment to gym training.
WHAT ARE BEHAVIOURAL CHANGE TECHNIQUES?
Behavioural Change Techniques are used in psychological interventions designed to alter causes that regulate behaviour. There are currently more than 93 techniques which have been hierarchically clustered by Michie et. al. (2013), and they can be used alone or with other techniques. Elite athletes have displayed some of these techniques in their training as a way to stay motivated in their training program. This article will highlight some of these techniques which you can apply in your training.
SET YOUR GOALS
Goal setting is when we set or agree on a behaviour to be achieved (i.e. agree on attending the gym three times a week with someone and reach an agreement about the goal). Whether your goal is to have a six-pack to impress people or just to maintain a healthy lifestyle, the achievement of such goals enhances your motivation to maintain commitment to your training.
Table 1 To ensure an increased likelihood in achieving a goal, goals must abide by the S.M.A.R.T. guideline, which is summarized in This guideline ensures that the goal in mind is specific to the individual, able to be measured, attainable, relevant and has a time limit as to when the individual wants the goal to be achieved.
|Specific||Goal must be clear and able to be understood clearly.|
|Measurable||Goal must be able to be seen, heard or felt when the goal is reached.|
|Attainable||Goal must not be too hard, or too easy.|
|Relevant||Goal must be relevant to you.|
|Time-bound||Goal must have an end-point.|
Michie et. al. (2013) defines this technique as ‘a method for the person to monitor and record their behaviour as part of a change strategy’. For example, if you have set a goal to lose 10-kilograms (kg) over a 10-week training period, you may self-monitor the outcome of your behaviour at the end of every two weeks by weighing yourself and recording your result on to a graph. By doing so, you are able to track your progress and can increase your motivation as you are able to visualise your progress. An increase in your motivation can result in extending your 10-week program to a 15-week program to acquire further benefits and therefore increase your commitment to training.
GRAB A MATE
Getting practical help from friends, relative, colleagues or staff is another technique you are able to use to increase training commitment. This help can be in the form of a training partner that you are able to train with to achieve your goals.
Who doesn’t love rewards? Michie et. al. (2013) defines this technique as ‘prompting self-praise or self-reward if and only if there has been effort and/or progress in performing the behaviour’. For example, you can reward yourself with new clothes if you have consistently trained at the gym at least three times a week. The use of rewards is another way of motivating yourself to improve your commitment to training.
PICK YOUR MATES WELL!
Changing your social environment to improve commitment is another useful technique you are able to implement in your training. Notice that basketball players will usually socialise with other basketball players and not rugby players! You are able to implement this in your training by socialising with individuals who are regular attendees to the gym (friends & family) and minimising your time spent with friends who behave in unhealthy ways.
These are just some of the techniques you can use to improve training commitment. It must also be noted however that individuals are different to each other and while some techniques may be effective for most people, it may not also be the same story for others. In this case, individuals are able to draw upon the other 93 techniques developed by Michie et. al. (2013) to change behaviours.
*Michie, S. et al (2013). The Behavior Change Technique Taxonomy (v1) of 93 Hierarchically Clustered Techniques: Building an International Consensus for the Reporting of Behavior Change Interventions. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 46, 81-95. doi: 10.1007/s12160-013-9486-6
by Julian Ramos, Curtin University Practicum Student under Laurence Houghton, High Performance Coach, Warwick Workout.
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