“Just finished my 5 miles for the day!”
“Down 14 pounds since November… 6 more to reach my goal.”
“I owned that CrossFit session!”
There are plenty ways to annoy your friends on social media (posting too often, posting vague messages, constant photos of your food, etc.), but a survey from Brunel University London found posting frequent workout achievements may actually be influenced by an unfavorable personality trait - narcissism.
According to Kevin Sloan, a psychologist at Beaumont’s Weight Control Centers, “The research suggests that individuals with narcissistic traits are prone to self-promotion. Communicating their accomplishments to others comes from their desire for admiration or validation.”
Behaviorally, posting daily workouts or achievements/milestones will yield a positive effect, but the real impact comes the “likes” or comments of encouragement of others.
If you notice a friend posting about new lifestyle changes, rather than dismissing their efforts, Sloan suggests to reach out and ask, “How would you like me to support you?”
SOCIAL MEDIA AND ACCOUNTABILITY
While some post for the flattery, others see social media as a means of free accountability. However, Sloan doesn’t recommend this as a sole form of accountability because “it’s possible to avoid posting entirely or not admitting to slips or lapses in your progress.”
Research suggests that self-monitoring is one of the most effective means of accountability. Instead of posting to social media, try one of the many phone applications available that help keep a visual dashboard of your caloric intake and exercise regimen.
If you’d like to keep your workout habits offline, join a structured program or group or partner with someone working toward similar goals (ideally somebody with established lifestyle habits).
“It’s important to anticipate possible obstacles to lifestyle change efforts and create strategies to overcome them,” Sloan admits.
At any given time, competing life priorities could derail your goals (not to mention the possibility of losing motivation over time). Anticipate and plan for these events.
Decrease your focus on what the scale shows (a weekly weighing works best) and increase your focus on quality life improvement such as endurance, more energy, clothing fit and life balance. These will assist in maintaining your commitments long-term.