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Turn Resolutions into Lasting Change

How long do your New Year’s resolutions last? If you are with the majority of Americans, your good intentions to lose a few holiday pounds and get healthy at the beginning of the New Year take a back burner as soon as life starts to get busy.

“As a former weight management dietitian I noticed that, despite a strong desire to make changes, people would often set themselves up for failure by latching onto the wrong motivators.”

For example, they might start a weight loss program in order to fit into their jeans again or because their doctor told them that it would help them control their blood sugars/cholesterol/blood pressure etc. Unfortunately these reasons don’t keep most people motivated for long. In fact, research suggests that those who are motivated to be physically active for reasons other than weight and health do a better job at sticking with their goals long term. Sounds odd right? However, researchers have found that motivators such as “running makes me more patient,” “weight lifting helps me clear my head,” or “yoga is my time for me” are more effective at encouraging people stick with the activity long term.

In addition to the right “whys” for making healthier resolutions, you might also consider thinking loftier about your goals. A great recommendation from Sean Foy, fitness expert for WELCOAs On the Move online wellness program is to consider “kedging” to help pull you in the direction toward your goals. Kedging is a nautical term that refers to moving a ship by means of a line attached to a small anchor dropped at the distance and in the direction desired—you can see the analogy.

His theory is that by placing a personal “kedge” well ahead of you- something such as climbing a mountain or surfing in the ocean- you might find yourself more motivated to do the daily tasks required to obtain that goal, even if they are difficult. On a personal note I can relate. When I signed up and paid for my first half marathon 6 months in advance I was much more motivated to train throughout the week compared to when I was running because “I thought I should.”

Even though the example provided relates to physical activity, you can apply kedging to any aspect of life. So to kick off 2017 don’t be afraid to pick an ambitious long-term goal to keep you motivated each week. Notice how much easier it is to stay motivated when you have the “right whys” for doing the daily tasks required to achieve this goal.

Interested in strategies for moving your employees in every aspect of life from Sean Foy and other expert contributors? Join the 2017 On the Move National Challenge that kicks off in April. Achieve whole person wellbeing for your employees and be recognized as one of the Top Most Active companies in the country.

Kaitlyn Pauly, Product and Marketing Coordinator