How Do We Build Support Networks?

So far, Mentoring Movement is out to create support for people starting on their exercise journey.  We know there is plenty of information, plenty of resources, plenty of organizations, plenty of inspirational “just do it” motivational quotes.  The real question is why do some people keep exercising, and why do some quit?  How do we get started and then KEEP GOING?

I have been reading a book called, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg.  In this book he outlines the process that gets new habits started.  With each repeated behavior, there is a cue (stressed out), a repeated behavior (eat ice cream), and a reward (pleasure / relief).  After a while, we enjoy this reward so much that we begin to anticipate it, even before we get the cue.  This creates a craving, and reinforces the behavior cycle.  Unfortunately, once that habit is wired, it can never be completely extinguished.  If you see a commerical for Ben & Jerry’s, your old craving and behavior pattern will get triggered.  So instead of trying to “get rid” of that old behavior, you can put a new behavior in its place.  When you’re stressed out, you can call a friend instead of diving head-first into the ice cream, and get a similar sense of relief.  (Here’s a great flow-chart on how to change a habit.)

This process of replacing one behavior pattern with another will only get you so far, and it’s why people will start exercising, but not stick with it.  Eventually, the old behavior pattern will win if they don’t believe that change is possible, and see that it is working for others.  I knew this was missing from so many exercise programs, even before I knew it was a necessary component of creating lasting change in people’s habits.

The question is: How Do We Get People Together To Create Belief?

I don’t know the answer to this … I just know that together we can answer it.  I come to you having seen something that we need, and ask for your help in creating the belief that together, supporting each other, we can help each other change, see the change in each other, and make the changes that will withstand any temptation!

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