With online maps and GPS in our phones, it’s gotten a lot easier to record where we plan to go and where we’ve gone walking, running, or cycling. As a side effect of recording, we can also share our routes with others. Information on others’ routes can be surprisingly valuable, when you go to a new place, start a new activity, or just need some variety. I’ve found the MapMyWalk/Run/Ride family of sites to be very helpful for that. If you enter an address or city, it pulls up nearby routes that other people have mapped.
The Self-Determination Theory of Deci and Ryan [1, 2] posits three basic psychological needs—autonomy, competence, and relatedness—and claims that behavior change interventions that meet those needs will be more effective than those that thwart them. In this post, I’ll review the theory and some possible misinterpretations of it, and discuss potential implications for social approaches to behavior change.