Sunday, January 10, 2016

A New Year of health — mental as well as physical!

So it's a New Year and we all are already attempting that annual Get-Back-In-Shape ritual after a wee bit of overeating and over-lying around relaxing and talking with friends and family.

In fact, Losing Weight topped the New Year's resolutions list in the United States for another year, according to StatisticBrain, several places, in fact, ahead of Staying Fit And Healthy.

Some other numbers you might enjoy:
Inspiration for (yet another year's) self-improvement. Image: The MetaPicture 

45:   Percentage of Americans who usually make New Year's resolutions

38:   Percentage of Americans who never make New Year's resolutions

  8:   Percentage of Americans who succeed in achieving their resolution

64:   Percentage of resolutions maintained more than 1 month

46:   Percentage of resolutions maintained more than 6 months

10:   How many times more likely do people who explicitly make resolutions attain their goals          vs people who don't explicitly make resolutions

It's clearly a challenge to maintain a new behavior over time, and for weight loss and fitness, it's even harder in places with very cold weather and short days.

So, it's already nearly time for those New Year's better nutrition and exercise resolutions to go by the wayside... But don't let them!

Raise your hands up for good intentions. Image: DesignTaxi

Focus.
We all have limited amounts of energy and willpower. Evidence indicates that if you focus on one specific goal or change, your chances of success are better than trying 3 or 4 new habits all at once. Makes sense.

Planning helps.
If you can plan not only for the desired result but also for the steps needed to get there, you have a much better chance of keeping the habit. "Go to the gym 3 times per week to take an aerobic class or use cardio machines after work" is more tangible and easier to visualize and incorporate into your day than "Work out more often".

Yes, fitness models and competitors work hard to look like this.
I particularly liked that this is from The Fashionable Housewife,
and she looks as far from a housewife as I could imagine!
Automating makes it easier.
Linking the new habit (e.g. working out in the morning) to one you already have (getting out of bed) by planning (putting gym clothes next to your bed) makes the new habit easier to remember and do.

We hear over and over that eating well and exercising are good for us. Exercise helps us maintain overall health and reduce risk of major health complications.

You already know you will look better.

OK, maybe not this much better. She's put in a bit of effort to look like this.

But as an extra incentive, eating your fruits and veggies and keeping up that exercise routine boost our mental health as well, so you can wow them with your smarts as well as your shape. According to a 2010-11 British health survey:

"Along with smoking, fruit and vegetable consumption was the health-related behaviour most consistently associated with both low and high mental wellbeing."

Even light physical exercise (e.g. housework) can keep our brains functioning more effectively as we age. So you can keep wow-ing them for years to come.

Keep swingin'!  Photo: Waltraud Grubitzsch/AFP/Getty Images


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