Work On Your Mindset To Improve Your Fitness

Mindset For Fitness

Work on your mindset: A new study suggests those with a strong life purpose find making the right health choices easier

We’ve all been there.

You get in from work late.

You know you should eat healthy..

Just out of curiosity you look online to see how long deliveroo will take.

Plus thai food isn’t really all that unhealthy right?

Making the right choice when it counts

The real secret to improving your performance is making the right choices and then acting on them consistently.

Whether that’s making the right dietary choices or going to the gym when you don’t feel like it.

For some people that comes easy but for others it feels like a daily battle.

A new study sheds light on why this might be the case.

Having purpose

Does having a strong sense of purpose in life make it easier to choose healthy behaviours?

After all, even a simple decision like taking the stairs or choosing the lift involves some minor internal decision making.

What if some people experience less conflict than others when considering these options?

Having a stronger guiding purpose may help resolve the internal conflicts.

The Study

The researchers recruited 220 sedentary people who were overweight or obese.

They also had engaged in fewer than 200 minutes of physical activity in the week prior to screening.

The subjects then completed a survey about their life purpose.

They were asked to indicate the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with statements like “I have a sense of direction and purpose in my life” or “I don’t have a good sense of what it is I’m trying to accomplish in life”.

Next, they were shown health messages promoting physical activity.

Whilst responding to the messages they were monitored by an fMRI scanner.

This focused on brain regions that tend to be active when people aren’t sure what to choose or when they feel conflicted.

Subjects who reported a stronger sense of life purpose were more likely to agree with the health messages.

They also had less activity in brain regions associated with conflict-processing.

The researchers were even able to predict how likely it was that a person would agree with health messages based on the degree of brain activity in these regions.


It’s probably not too surprising that having a strong purpose helps people make healthy decisions.

However whilst it might feel obvious to some, to others it could be life-changing.

If you (or anyone you know) struggle with making consistent healthy decisions then it might be worth a nudge towards reviewing their life goals.

Oh, and if you do happen to order the takeaway then enjoy it .. balance is just as important as getting after it.


Kang Y., et al., (2019). Purpose in life and conflict-related neural responses during health decision-making. Health Psychology. Vol 38(6), 545-552


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