Psychology Today: Psychology Explains New Year Resolutions, Hits and Misses
This story reports on a new investigation in the Journal of Nature and Science by School of Public Health Professor Seppo Iso-Ahola (Kinesiology) about why we are so awful at sticking to fitness resolutions and health goals. The article says that Dr. Seppo “points out that lifestyle boils down to just four key health behaviors: regular exercise, non-smoking, healthy diet, and moderate alcohol use. According to this analysis, if people followed just these simple strategies throughout their lives, they would live, on average, seven years longer.” Understanding why we don’t follow healthy behaviors when we should “boils down to grasping what happens when we start having to think about the decision to exercise. Just how much of this decision involves conscious wrestling with yourself over what you ought to do, as opposed to what you really want to do, will predict how likely you are to keep your fitness resolve. Once you get going and start to establish a set of health routines, these then begin to operate below conscious awareness, so you don’t have to think too hard about them. Then the benefits of exerercise become a positive feedback loop; physical activity makes us feel better about ourselves and directly improves mental health, well-being and brain function,” the article says.