Get up and keep trying.
Someone busier than you is running right now.
Sweat, smile, repeat.
Chances are, you see these (or similar) sayings often. Motivational quotes are everywhere—from your Twitter feed (I’m looking at you, #MotivationMonday) and Instagram to fitness apparel, pillow covers, and wall decor.
However, there is little research on if or how motivational quotes get us off the couch and into the gym. Jordan Miller-Zielger, a PhD student at the University of Oregon who works in the Social and Affective Neuroscience Lab, studies how motivational factors and neural systems influence goal pursuit. Long-time personal trainer Blanca Grinkovitch also shares her findings on motivational strategies.
Miller-Zielger explains that while there is no research specifically about the effectiveness of motivational quotes, related research can shed some light.
Here’s what you need to know:
Everyone reacts differently. “Motivation depends on the person, it depends on your personality,” explains Grinkotvitch.
When it comes to motivational quotes, what inspires one person may not inspire the next. This may have to do with instant and delayed gratification. “If you’re the type of person who needs instant gratification, you might particularly benefit from quotes that direct you to focus more on the present,” Miller-Zielger explains. For those who can delay gratification, quotes about longer-term goals may be the most useful.
Specific quotes may be more effective. Setting small, achievable goals is important to any health and fitness regimen. “When you set a goal, you’re going to work harder,” says Grinkovitch. “When you have no goals, you have nothing to work toward.”
Quotes that motivate you to act to achieve one of these specific goals can be especially useful. “Something like ‘don’t worry be happy,’ which suggests maintaining a positive mood, might not be as valuable as something that stresses working hard to reach your goals,” Miller-Zielger says.
Timing is everything. Miller-Zielger suggests that motivational quotes may be most useful when you can actually act on them. “If you’re at work and you see a bunch of posts on social media about going to the gym, that might not be too useful because all you can do is sit at work.” Instead, if you were to see ‘No matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch,’ while you were deciding whether or not to head to the gym, that could be the push you need to get yourself there.
Check out our Instagram to see what’s motivating the ALOHA team this week! #WisdomWednesday
We want to know: what inspires you?