Did you begin this year with a vow to exercise more? Gym memberships spike each January with our good intentions but are often followed by dismal realities: sport shoes left in the box or yoga pants discarded in a corner with the tags still on. We know exercise is good for us and we all want to stick to our goals—but how?

Dr. Chul-Ho Bum from Kyung Hee University recently reported on exercise adherence and shared some fascinating findings in SBP Journal. He noted one statistic that close to 50% of people who begin an exercise regime will quit within 6 months. Dr. Bum’s perspective on what may make a difference: self-leadership. We are unlikely to have an elite coach accompany us to the gym, but what if we can muster up internal motivations, give ourselves feedback and criticism, and—in a sense—coach ourselves? Would sport participants adhere more closely to their exercise regimes if guided by self-leadership?

In the study reported, self-leadership significantly increased commitment and adherence to exercise, showing that it could be applied not only to organizational settings, but also in more personal endeavors. Unlike traditional leadership or coaching, self-leadership drives behavior through self-set goals and a personal sense of achievement and enjoyment.

Strengthening self-management techniques and focusing on personal goals and achievement might really help those of us who want to put that gym membership to good use! Dr. Bum thoughtfully states that doing so would increase our adherence and commitment to exercise—worthy steps on the path to a better quality of life.

Alex Cheyne | Managing Editor
Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal