News & Insights 7 September 2021

Achieving your personal goals KiActiv® Health

Following on from our recent blog post on SMART goals, a new study has been published by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania on the effectiveness of different types of goals. It was concluded that self-chosen goals were significantly more effective than assigned goals in physical activity interventions, and the effects were greatest when these goals were implemented immediately. The researcher found that only those who chose their own goals and started immediately achieved significant increases in their activity. Importantly, they also sustained their progress for 8-weeks after the intervention ended.

“Individuals who select their own goals are more likely to be intrinsically motivated to follow through on them,” said Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD, director of Penn Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the University of Pennsylvania and an author of the study. “They feel like the goal is theirs and this likely enables greater engagement.”

These findings support the Self-Determination Theory, which originated from the work of psychologists Edward Deci and Richard Ryan. Self-Determination Theory is an important concept within behaviour change that refers to each individual’s ability to make choices and manage their own life, as opposed to having ideas presented to them. Self-determination allows people to feel that they have control over what they are doing, and results in higher levels of motivation.

Self-Determination Theory suggests that people are intrinsically motivated make change based on 3 innate and universal psychological needs; autonomy, competence and relatedness

1) Autonomy:

People need to feel in control of their own behaviours and goals.

This sense of being able to take direct action that will result in real change plays a major part in helping people feel self-determined. Improving physical activity levels in the real world requires the individuals to understand their current behaviours and come up with ideas for change on their own, without feeling forced.

2) Competence:

People need to gain mastery of tasks and learn different skills.

When people feel that they have the skills needed for success, they are more likely to take actions that will help them achieve their goals. Competence is helped by support. Feedback from significant others such as family and/or mentors allows individuals to recognise their progress and helps maintain motivation to achieve their goals.

3) Relatedness (or support):

People need to experience a sense of belonging and attachment to other people.

The relationship between those delivering and receiving an intervention is very important in facilitating behaviour change. A sense of being respected, understood, and cared for is essential in maintaining motivation when trying to achieve a goal.

If you are interested in a more detailed description of Self-Determination Theory and all its components in relation to physical activity, click here

At KiActiv®, we provide people with a personalised understanding of their everyday physical activity to empower self-management of their health. Focusing on everyday physical activity is fundamental to creating beneficial and sustained behaviour change, as it promotes opportunities to be active every waking hour of the day in a way that suits the individual. Self-Determination Theory is deeply rooted into our methods; our Mentors listen and provide support without prescription, allowing clients to create their own goals. Throughout the 12-weeks, clients continue to receive support to help them recognise their progress and stay motivated, which also allows for a personal connection between client and Mentor. We are proud to say that putting self-determination theory into practice allows us to be accessible to anyone and everyone, with no barrier to age, condition, or mobility, meaning anyone can be in control of their health!

The KiActiv® Team