Does monkey behavior have anything to do with getting fit?  Let’s find out. 

I once read about an experiment where they put monkeys in a cage, in the center of which was a ladder leading to a nice ripe bunch of bananas.  As the monkeys would climb the ladder to get the bananas, they would be sprayed with a hose, making them abandon the attempt. 

Before long, the monkeys began policing each other.  When one would start the ascent, the others would violently stop him.  After observing this strange phenomenon, the researchers replaced one of the monkeys.  Sure enough, he started up the ladder toward the bananas, and sure enough, the other monkeys became violent towards their new roommate. 

One by one the researchers replaced each monkey until all of the originals were gone.

The behavior of guarding the ladder continued, even though none of these new monkeys had ever been sprayed with the hose.  The interesting thing is that not one of these new monkeys knew why they were guarding the ladder, they were just doing what they thought was normal … they were “going with the flow.”  Whenever one monkey would break from tradition and rise above (literally), the others wouldn’t allow it.

This monkey lives on this banana. What do monkeys and bananas have to do with fitness? Click to find out.

People are the same as monkeys, at least in the sense that we tend not to let people break from tradition.  Have you ever publicly stated a goal, only to have the naysayers try to thwart you? 

Usually it manifests more subtly than the violent monkey beatings.  It may take the form of sarcastic comments, doubt-inducing questions, or stories of failed attempts.  My favorite one is, “You’re going to the gym NOW?”  However it comes about, the sabotage is real.  Much like our monkey friends though, our human friends don’t even know why they do it.  They probably don’t even realize they ARE doing it.  It just comes naturally (going with the flow).

People are the same as monkeys, at least in the sense that we tend not to let people break from tradition.  Have you ever publicly stated a goal, only to have the naysayers try to thwart you?

These negative comments are actually a good thing.  They make you aware that you’re breaking away from what is considered “normal.”  As the saying goes, if you act like everybody else, you’ll be like everybody else.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to be like everybody else.  I’d much rather be fit and healthy!

So here are the steps:

  1. Set a goal.
  2. Create your plan.
  3. State your goal publicly.
  4. Chuckle silently when people predictably try to sabotage you, and take comfort in knowing you’re on the right track.
  5. Execute your plan.
  6. Achieve your goal.
  7. Chuckle silently again when your friends tell you they believed in you all along.