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A little regret goes a long way

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Have you ever felt badly about missing a workout? According to researchers, these feelings of regret are a good thing

Have you ever felt badly about missing a workout? According to researchers, these feelings of regret are a good thing. A new study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology (May 2004) has shown that a little bit of regret can go a long way in motivating a person to exercise regularly.

Researchers set out to determine whether anticipated regret over not exercising would make a difference in a person's intention to engage in physical activity. After taking into account other variables such as past behaviour, researchers found that anticipated regret made a significant contribution to motivation to exercise. Participants in the study who were encouraged to focus on feelings of regret had significantly stronger intentions to exercise compared to those in the control group. By picturing themselves feeling sad, guilty, and out of shape as a result of not exercising, participants of this group were more likely to follow through with their exercise plans.

Perhaps people shouldn't only focus on the positive results of regular activity - perhaps a focus on what they will feel like without activity is something that should be contemplated as well.

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