Changing Identity to Motivate Healthy Behavior
Very recent research (January 2016, Science Daily) reveals that the more a person identifies with a part5icular role, the more likely that person is to participate in role-related behaviors. Brouwer and Mosack explain: “It stands to reason that the very process of conceptualizing the self as a ‘healthy eater’ brings about greater identification with this role.”
To test the above theory, a study was done attempted to influence the eating habits of 124 women. Each woman was given information on portion sizes and asked to keep food diaries for a six-week period. Three groups were studied:
- These were provided with standard educational material about nutrition.
- These were treated as a control group.
- This group was asked to create six ‘identity statements’ in relation to their own healthy eating goals. An example: If a person wanted to eat more fruit, they were asked to think of themselves as ‘fruit eaters.’
Group Three had the best results. They reported how the exercise of thinking of themselves as ‘doers’ motivated them to the point that they made different health behavior choices, even when they didn’t prefer the healthy choices.
Let me challenge you, as I challenged our Team Fabulous, last night in our Emotional Eating Course:
“Can you create six new identity statements in relation to your own health and fitness goals?”