Do you have a neglected piece of exercise equipment in your home? Maybe it resides in a lonely back bedroom. Or perhaps it's collecting dust in a closet somewhere. Not exactly what you intended when you bought the thing right? Researchers now have an explanation for why we get hot and cold about our fitness equipment ...
Researchers call it "unrealistic optimism"--and maybe you have a case of it? According to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, here's how our minds work:
"Consumers adopt the tentative hypothesis that they will behave in an ideal fashion when predicting their future behavior," the authors explain. "Unrealistic optimism by consumers may have negative consequences for both marketers and consumers. For example, if a consumer holds unrealistically optimistic beliefs about how often they will work out in the future, then they may overpay for home exercise equipment."
This makes absolute sense to me--it explains the baby jogger stroller that I rarely used and the poor lonely elliptical machine in the guest bedroom. (Break out of your fitness rut with quick fixes from real women.)
But buying exercise equipment isn't a bad thing. The study's authors just note that many of us spend more money than we should on gadgets and equipment that we'll actually never use. Better idea? Before you buy, they say, ask yourself honestly: "How often am I really going to use this thing?" By stopping and trying to predict the real outcome (not the idealized one), we can be more realistic in our fitness goals and our spending.
Have you ever fallen into "unrealistic optimism" with a fitness gear purchase? (I recently wrote about this newfitness gadget that lets you use your laptop while at the gym--but would you really use it?)
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