Visualizing Goals Improves Athletic Performance

Wellbeing Tips
February 18, 2016

When it comes to working out, there’s no doubt some people see the glass as half full, and others see the glass — and freak out. Read on to find out about a fascinating study that shows how altering how you see the world can improve your ability to exercise.

Before you lace up: Train your brain

Obviously people who hate exercise, often do less of it. And as we’ve shown, even a small amount of exercise can improve your heath.
See: Walking 1,000 Extra Steps A Day Can Lower Blood Pressure
As I’m about to start training for my first 5K in years, I’m thinking about this a lot. Wouldn’t it be nice if those who feared this, like me, could be motivated to train more while also finding it easier? Of course it would — this is the kind of stuff that creates a positive feedback loop.
Luckily, according to social psychologist and professor Emily Balcetis, even for the most unfit among us, shifts in perception might change your outlook and even improve your exercise ability.
In a stunningly insightful TED talk, Balcetis describes the research she helped conduct on how motivation influenced distance perception between groups of fit and unfit people and the outcomes they experienced when they experimented with shifting perceptions.

The importance of goal setting

She outlined, for example, how setting obtainable goals helped people — something we called “golden goals” in a study conducted with myfitnesspal. People who set a weight goal were 4 times more likely to lose weight.
But beyond goal-setting, Balcetis talks about mindset and how people tasked with exercise, who kept their eyes on a goal of a finish line, moved 23% faster than those who were instructed to look around and take notice of other parts of their environment.
Check it out and see if it can’t help train you to keep your (and my) eyes on the exercise prize.

via Katie Felber for GOOD