From a practical, motivational and experience-based perspective, it is useless to try to do something that is not favoured by the current circumstances, if that activity is something regular or habitual or something that requires many contributions over time (as part-time work). Such attempts will all fail eventually, and up to that point of time, they burn a huge amount of motivation, strength and other resources.

The solution is to change the circumstances instead. That is, to create surroundings (infrastructure, organizational rules etc.) that favour the activity one wants to do. This can be called “behavior setting design”; see the behavior setting theory.

It is however possible to perform one-time projects “against the circumstances”; this also consumes much motivation, strength and other resources, but that is o.k. if one can “re-fill” that wile living in ones day-to-day circumstances.

Examples:

  • To gain fitness, don’t create regular “train this or that” tasks, instead find a friend as a training partner, or a sports group so that training will get a regular, fun activity.
  • To become a more social person, move into a flat sharing community instead of creating tasks to meet people while still living in a very isolated way.
  • To recover from a burn-out situation, place yourself in a relaxing, supportive situation instead of creating tasks to relax, tasks to train physically, tasks to socialize etc..

A related insight is that it’s complete nonsense to permanently try to exhort and persuade the population to do more sport and live healthier, to increase public health. Because, all of the population know about the risks of not following these recommendations, and still do not follow them; so this must have a reason, and cannot by cured by simply intensifying the exhortations. The reason are multiple obstacles in the circumstances that make it impossible to uphold healthy activities in the long term with average human motivation (see above). People are simpl in a behavior setting that promotes unhealthy action (on average and in long term; individual actions and people might deviate, but a behavior setting is always effective on average, and average health is of interest here). So peopel cannot be blamed for living unhealthy, instead, these circumstances have to be changed to be more supportive.

Examples:

  • open, friendly sport groups to join
  • more informal social security to motivate people (by friends and family)
  • 24 hour gratis gym, operated by the city, incl. trainers
  • well-known places to meet for sports in informal manner
  • city-operated public Internet forums to find sport mates etc.

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