Saturday, July 24, 2010

Attitude or behaviour first?

Hello all. My first words in this fine, collaborative effort. Thank you Joan for inviting me to contribute.

I read the nice post on attitude by Linda and cannot help myself thinking about a common mistake so many people often make (me too, I admit) when trying to change something. Either in our lives, our kids, colleagues ... no matter.

So often we think we need the right attitude BEFORE we see changes in behaviour. You know (coming from an ed-tech field here ...) "people must like computers and digital technology before they will change their ways of doing things" or "my child needs to like art in order to paint" or ... the list is endless! As an extension, we often say "I don't like exercise so I won't go even for a quick jog around the block (but if I DID like exercise I'd be out the door right now)".

The reality in most cases, if I presume horribly here, is quite the other way around. Let's take running for example.

Do we need to get all the great gear, measure up, set short and long term goals, hire a coach, buy $500 worth of motivational books, co-write an exercise motivation blog [ ;-) ] and have 'the right stuff and the right ATTITUDE' towards running before we peel our sorry backsides off the couch to do a mile lap around the block (BEHAVIOUR)?

Or do we simply go out one night in our daggy clothes (excuse Aussie vernacular) for what seems, and often is, a 'plod' (BEHAVIOUR) that sounds and feels like a rusty, badly tuned, early-model piece of farm machinery ... but after which we kinda say: "Huh, I ain't fit but I'm glad I did it..." (ATTITUDE)

Which one do you think works better and longer? Why?

Regards and ... go #temt !

Tomaz Lasic (@lasic)

"Enjoy your body: use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or what other people think of it; it's the greatest instrument you'll ever own."
(M.Schmich, The Sunscreen Song)


  1. Great post, Tomaz! I think it's a little of both, kind of a "chicken & egg" thing. You have to have a little bit of attitude/desire to engage in the behavior. As you engage in the behavior and you begin to see results, it can shape the attitude. yin & yang.

  2. Hey Linda

    Yeah, it is kinda chickeneggish but on the whole I've found that attitude merely helps along. For that, I have always been weary of hype of any kind (but often contributed to it, guilty ;-) ). Actions need few words.

    Thank for the first comment! Looks like we're in some fine company here :D

  3. Tomaz,
    I think you hit on a very important aspect of whether we actually end up being committed to taking care of ourselves. Initially we must be open enough to "plod along",as you say and not be so graceful or quick. Once we get going and take action, we find a reward from that action, hopefully intrinsic like,"ooh, I feel so much better, less stressed" or whatever that feeling may be. For me, often when my attitude is not up to par, there is a lil part of me that I call upon to kick myself into gear. And I think this TEMT thing helps us find that little voice among friends who also want to be healthy and fit.
    Thanks for the post.. sorry bout my ramble! So glad you have joined us :-)

  4. When I wake up in the morning, I need to turn my attitude off and just let my behavior take over. If my mind gets talking
    to my body, I can very easily find myself back in that cozy bed. But, like this morning, if I just keep that body moving down those stairs, that behavior changes my attitude in the first five minutes of a workout. Eventually, I think things will turn around.

    Thanks for the post!