They say, nothing deviates you from your fitness goals more than partying regularly. After all, the booze, the snacks, the high-calorie food, the desserts, and well—the after-party binging—all things combine and show up on your waistline eventually.
In my case though, being a party animal has proven to be rather motivating when it comes to maintaining my fitness. Yes, limiting alcohol consumption, practicing mindful eating, and exercising regularly have contributed to it, but so has motivation from all the appreciation for that fit bod.
How I use my party peeps as positive motivation
The same people I chill with have also became my motivation to workout simply because, our friendship is beyond parties and thus, a compliment about a fit body from them can help boost my mood like no other. After all, who doesn’t like to flaunt a beautiful dress? I know, I do.
But this can backfire if the line is crossed
See, there’s a thin line between using appreciation from peers as a positive motivation and seeking their validation to boost your self-confidence. If this line is crossed, I am afraid, you could end up thriving on the path to fitness or even end up with low self-esteem and a total loss of motivation to stay healthy. In fact, a 2015 research paper points out that most women exercise due to social influence and to meet the appearance-expectations of their peers or what they see on social media.
While taking slight inspiration is healthy and good for your own body, exercising with the sole purpose of garnering appreciation isn’t just something that doesn’t last, but is also something that can add stress and anxiety in your life.
This negative impact becomes easier to understand with the help of Deci and Ryan’s ‘Self-Determination Theory’ proposed in 2000, which says that using “external regulation” as motivation to perform a task is not long-lasting as an individual does it either out of a fear of some punishment or simply out of expectation of a reward. When either is eliminated, the motivation is simply lost. In the context of exercising here, the reward is probably some appreciation from others and the punishment is probably not being able to fit into skimpy dresses or fancy clothes that supposedly garner the appreciation.
So, what happens once I come of age and stop socialising so much?
Well, since exercise is a part of my lifestyle and not just a stunt to look fit at a social event, I might just stick to the healthy regime. At least, I hope I do. But if unlike me, exercise pops up in your life only prior to a social event, God save you.