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A deep desire to belong

Updated: May 18, 2022

One of the deepest human desires is to belong. There's even a term for it - "belongingness" - and it refers to a human emotional need to feel accepted by a group.

Belongingness is centred on gaining acceptance, attention and support from other members of the group, as well providing that attention to others. Now this may seem heavy but the real value for this post is how belongingness changes our behaviours, attitudes and beliefs, consequently having a huge impact on our motivation in various areas of our life.

TeamUp is about motivating people to exercise more so I'm going to apply belongness to this avenue of life. However, the principle stands up in our work, our social circles and other areas of life as well.

There are two forms of motivation - intrinsic and extrinsic. In our quest to create an active lifestyle, intrinsic motivation is by far the more powerful of the two.

The need to belong is a pure form of intrinsic motivation (needing to affiliate and be socially accepted by others). This makes it super-valuable and worth really putting some thought into.

People so often seek others who are similar to themselves. We naturally gravitate to those with similar hobbies, interests, opinions and points of view. We also naturally behave similarly to others in a given group (especially prominent members/leaders).

If you've joined TeamUp it's because you want to be more active, like everyone else. You'll be joining teams and gaining that belonging. You're likely to behave like other members of the group (exercising!) See where I'm going with this..?

Studies have also found positive links between a sense of belonging and greater happiness and overall wellbeing, as well as a reduction in mental health outcomes including anxiety, stress, loneliness and social anxiety.

If I want to exercise more and I've joined a group where everyone's exercising, I'm simply more likely to do it.

If you're in a friendship group and they're all going running once a week you're far more likely to do it too. You're not simply going to be the odd one out. They all do it, they enjoy it, they talk about it, they wear similar clothes, they're all getting fitter. And then there's you, just not doing it. Well that just doesn't happen.

If you want to be good at your job, be in a team with others who want the same. If you want to achieve more at school, surround yourself with those who work hardest. If you want to be fitter, put yourself in groups of people who stay fit. It's really powerful and a fundamental psychology behind TeamUp.

This is also how accountability works. By being in a group and having that sense of belonging you naturally make yourself accountable to others. It's that threat of failure, the pressure of not achieving your goal that makes you want to go and conform, in this example, by exercising.

Ok - psychology lesson over. The headline.. surround yourself with others who want to achieve the same aim as you (regular exercise) and you are sooo much more likely to do it.

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