IMG_2109You know who you are. You’ve made a commitment, drawn out a plan, and you’re almost ready to get started on Very Important Life Project X. All you have to do before getting started for real is sharpen your pencil. So you’ve been sharpening your pencil. For hours. Years, maybe.

In fact, you’ve been grinding your pencil in the sharpener so long you’re down to the nub. A very, very sharp nub.

If the Very Important Life Project is of the physical sort – to get strong like ox, say – you’re in good company. Getting fit is, far and away, this country’s most popular new year’s resolution. It’s also the resolution least likely to be carried out. For you, dear friend, Nike’s Just Do It just doesn’t do it. What will?

First, quit beating yourself up about not following through on your plan and instead, give yourself a hand for making a plan in the first place. Studies on the gap between intention and actuality have confirmed that not having a plan to exercise almost never results in exercise. Duh. But still, science put a number on it: if you don’t intend to exercise, there’s only a 2% chance you’ll just start hoisting dumbbells anyway.

By stating an intention to work out, there’s a 52% chance you’ll do it. That’s pretty good! Just by saying you want to do something, you’ve given yourself better than even odds. That’s because, in nerdball language, “intention is the proximal antecedent of behavioral enactment.” Now add a plan to that, and your chances bump up even higher.

But not up to 100%. Somehow, you’re still cruising through Facebook or watching Scandal rather than getting up and actually doing your plan. How to make the big leap from intention to physical activity?

There are, somewhat hilariously, a large number of funded studies that have “evaluated the potential moderators of the intention-behavior relationship in the physical activity (PA) domain.” These scientists have pulled out their clipboards and stopwatches to find the “most relevant moderators correlated with discordance between initial intention and eventual behavior.”


In the simpler English of my mother: why you no exercise?

Here are some of the things that the studies discovered affect the relationship between intention and physical activity (cutely called the I-PA gap): motivational flux, anticipated regret, perceived control/self-efficacy, and habit. The factors that have no effect on the I-PA gap: gender, agreeableness, openness, body mass index, and ethnicity.

Queerfit is 100% dedicated to get you to quit sharpening your pencil and start squatting and deadlifting. So we’ll take whatever science is out there to make that happen. Since the biggest discovery in our own little experiment in group fitness has been that we are better together than individually, here are some of the things we can do for each other to get our collective strong on:

Re: motivational flux. Post your physical activities to the Queerfit Atlanta FB page and your own page. It’s not bragging – it’s building an ethos of care for our physical selves. When you go for a run, take the kids to the park, play a game of kickball, or get a group of fellow travelers to do squats and pushups with you in the airport…let us know. As a bonus, this gums up the works with the National Security Agency data collectors, and they’ll just assume we’re a group of exercisers rather than revolutionaries intent on overthrowing the capitalist-imperialist empire. JUST KIDDING, NSA. We’re just a bunch of exercisers. Except not.

Re: anticipated regret. We will start posting photos of us glistening with sweat and joy post-workout, to fill those who miss queerfit with deep regret.

Re: perceived control/self-efficacy. For starters, each of you can and should spend more time telling yourself how friggin’ awesome you are. Because you are! As a group, too, we can spend more time gossiping about what’s great about each other. And how frighteningly amazing we are as a group. What control! What self-efficacy!

Re: habit, we touched on this in an earlier post, on how to Change Your Habits, Change Your Life. To expand on the notion of personal habits, we should recognize that we are also constantly creating group habits. It’s not just the regular workouts that become group habits, but how we do the workouts. We go hard and we have fun. Those are habits.

So come on. Whether it’s queerfit or some other group, help each other get from the intention to actually doing the do. Call up your friend who could use an extra little motivation and come out tomorrow to our usual spot at 10:00. It’s going to be hot as Hades, so bring water and wear as little as possible. Whooot!