During the holiday season, many look forward to celebrations with friends and family, food, sleep and entertainment. With the anticipation also comes a renewed sense of optimism about the coming year. We want to be fitter, healthier, smarter and more motivated. However, according to a December 2015 article published in the U.S. News and World Report, 80 percent of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions by February. And only 8 percent achieve their goals. What happens to our motivation during the month of January? How do those 8
During an undergraduate health behavior change course, my professor encouraged us to brainstorm ways to help the public make healthier choices. We discussed education, tax breaks and phone apps that provide reminders to take medication or to exercise. The professor then presented examples of how those ideas had been implemented by public health officials all over the world. After sharing these, he emphasized that changing people’s environment was the most effective way to change people’s behavior.
A 2015 review by Sallis et al. published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity show how just living near parks can lead to healthier lifestyles. People who lived in residential areas without parks or recreational spaces had a 44 percent higher rate of physician-diagnosed anxiety disorders than those who lived near more parks and recreational areas.
Also, a 2003 study published in the American Journal of
When applying this approach at the personal level, the
But what about more intangible goals such as time management? A 2012 study published by Lydia Burak in the International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning demonstrated that the millennial generation struggles with constant distraction from technology during class
Unless you have the self-mastery of a monk, relying solely on motivation and discipline to reach your goals can leave you giving up on your New Year’s resolutions by February, alongside a nice serving of disappointment and guilt. By manipulating your environment and making it harder to fail, success just may come more easily.
~ Austin Tyler, District 9 Trustee, Colorado ’20