Why you failed to reach your fitness goals

Humans underestimate the effects of setbacks
How many calories did you really
burn when you took that walk with the kids?

It turns out humans are optimists to the core.

Researchers, whose study is published in the Journal of Consumer Research, say people overestimate the impact of their successes and underestimate the effects of their shortfalls or setbacks.

When it comes to healthy living, this means we overestimate how much energy we expend when we bike or walk and underestimate the impact of eating those irresistible cupcakes or lattes later in the day. We overestimate the positive effects of eating a kale salad for lunch and underestimate the negative impact of sitting at our desks all day.

Let's stop doing that! Take a look at these sobering statistics: If you are a 140-pound woman and you walk a 15 minute mile, you will burn 168 calories in 30 minutes. If you play golf without a cart, you'll burn 150 calories in the same time. Meanwhile, if you down a Starbucks Iced Caffe Mocha, you'll take in 140 calories, and if you decide to indulge in a cupcake you'll consume at least 295 calories.

What should the eternal optimist do? Make sure you approach your fitness goals with accurate information that will help you attain your goals. Since humans suffer from "progress bias," it may make sense to invest in an activity tracker that will help you accurately monitor calories in and out.

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