A selfie a day keeps the doctor away – that’s the saying, right? Maybe not, but according to new research, progress pictures are a really effective way of making sure you’re hitting your fitness goals.
Yes, it can be annoying logging onto the internet on Tuesdays, only to be met by thousands of pictures of everyone boasting about their weight loss journey. But it’s precisely this method of sharing with the internet that could actually be a key part in achieving our goals.
A recent study published in the Journal of Interactive Marketing has found that sharing your successes and setbacks in virtual support communities (VSC), such as Instagram, is more likely to make you stick to your diet and fitness plans.
“The sharing of intimate information and photos about weight loss goals in virtual space is a key factor in motivating behaviors that fulfil that new thinner identity and this help people reach their goals,” said co-author Dr. Sonya A. Grier.
This isn’t the first time the humble progress picture has been under review. In 2013, a study published in Translational Behavioral Medicine found that those who documented their weight loss progress on Twitter lost more weight than participants who didn’t.
Why – you may be asking? Well, it all comes down to positive reinforcement. As social beings, we crave social connection, some more than others. By publically sharing your goals, fitness or otherwise, you open yourself to praise from your friends and family and maybe even strangers on the internet.
Receiving compliments from others has actually been proven to increase our performances and help us to strive to do better. A 2012 study published in PLoS One found that when participants received personalized praise for their work, they performed better at a later date.
So, when we see someone comment on our post giving us positive feedback for our growing glutes or shrinking waistline, it’s inevitable that we’ll want to keep going, if only to get that warm and fuzzy feeling again.
Not sure how to take a great progress picture? No worries, we have a handy guide on how to perfect your pictures and smash your goals.
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