When trying to stick to your New Year's resolutions, having a support system can be very important. After all, encouragement from your significant other motivates you to stick to your new diet and exercise regimen, right? Actually, a new study says that all that support from your partner may be keeping you from accomplishing your fitness goals.
The study, published in the new issue of Psychological Science, surveyed 52 women and found that focusing on specific ways their significant others supported them in reaching their health and fitness goals made them decide to slack off more than those who did not think about it. Another group ended up procrastinating longer on a task after they thought about the help they would receive from their loved one.
Turns out, when we realize how much support we're getting from our loved ones, it may subconsciously allow us to give ourselves more leeway, a phenomenon called "outsourcing exertion." In other words, thinking about how much your partner shares the burden of your goals allows you to justify working less hard toward them yourself!
If you're paired off, however, you're not doomed to a couch potato life. The researchers said the effect was only seen when respondents focused on a specific goal, and the respondents' dependency on their partners made them more likely to stay committed to the relationship. So while musing about all the ways your partner supports your daily gym run can be detrimental, their actual acts of helping you stick to a diet and exercise routine are all good news!