'Pain of No Gain' - Using Hypocrisy to Increase Commitments to Physical Fitness
17 Pages Posted: 6 May 2020
Date Written: December 13, 2019
At the start of every year, millions of Americans vow to commit themselves to improving their physical health through joining a gym. Unfortunately, many of these promises go unfulfilled as surveys indicate that many members fail to attend their club as frequently as they’d like, and thus aren’t achieving their health goals. I propose a psychologically-based intervention to help increase gym attendance through a cognitive-dissonance based approach to psychological change. New gym members will film videos in which they state their fitness-related goals and commit to a regular attendance schedule. These videos will be sent to them every month as well as shown to other gym members. The goal of this intervention is to:
1) provide new gym members with a way to make public commitments to their health and,
2) to invoke a hypocritical state-of-mind amongst participants who fail to maintain commitment to these goals. When members have publicly committed to a course of action to improve their health and fail to uphold it, their need for self-integrity will be threatened as they may fear being seen (or view themselves) as hypocritical. To relieve the resulting cognitive dissonance, I propose that members will increase their gym attendance to realign their thoughts and commitments with their behaviors, thus reducing dissonance and increasing health.
Keywords: hypocrisy, commitment, cognitive dissonance, physical health
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