How can smelling your gym clothes help you keep your New Year's resolution?

On December 31st, you decided that “new year, new you” and as your digging your hand into the bag of chips you tell yourself to cherish each chip because it’s your last. A couple days pass and you haven’t broken your new year's resolution and you know that this is your year of getting that dream body. A week into the new year and you couldn’t help but have a “little” piece of chocolate that you’ve been craving since you started your resolution. That leads you to break your resolution as you gobbled down the whole bar.

This cycle of creating goals and breaking them can be explained by the “2 P’s of decision making”. The 2P’s explain that every decision we make is motivated by our need to avoid PAIN and get PLEASURE. So, when you decide to not track your calories or follow your workout plan you are avoiding pain.  When you take a bite out of the chocolate bar you are trying to get pleasure. This is called neuroassociation.

Neuroassociation is you mentally linking certain things to pain or pleasure. In the example above, you linked your diet and workout plan to pain. This makes it hard for you to stick to your goals because your brain is always trying to make you avoid pain (even if its good for you)- and that pain would be working out. You eat the closest junk food because you associate it with pleasure.

This evolutionary process is what led your ancestors survive. However, it is stopping you from reaching your goals.

What can you do about it?

“The power to change relies on what you link to pleasure and pain.”

You need to change your thought process of pain and pleasure. First, you can link pleasure to the first step of exercising by putting on good smelling gym clothes before you go to the gym. The pleasure of good smell trains your brain to think that you enjoy working out. You can create different links to help you disrupt the false mental linkages.

In summary, what is hindering you from reaching your goals is your association of what is bringing you pain and pleasure. What you can do is focus on the pain of inaction and the pleasure of taking action towards your goals.


By: Obaidullah Madhosh









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