Healthy Tip # 166

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Another healthy tip courtesy of Michelle Segar

Stop trying to be healthy and start fueling your daily energy

womanpushupMy research shows that while “health” is highly valued by individuals, it is not concrete or immediate enough to motivate most individuals to stick with their health resolutions. We know that most people are more motivated by immediately-experienced rewards (“increased energy”, “enhanced well-being”) than ones that will be experienced in the future (“better health”, “disease prevention”). When motivation is linked to distant or abstract goals, health behaviors are not compelling enough to trump the other daily goals and priorities with which they constantly compete. The same behaviors that lead to health can also energize our daily lives. So, consider the single most important thing you can do to have more energy every day. Is it to get an hour more of sleep on most nights? Move your body more during the day? Only choose one specific behavior to work on learning, and start to notice your energy level when you do it and when you don’t. We are much more likely to stick with our resolutions to be healthy when we notice the real and immediate ways they energize our days and help us better enjoy everything we do.

– Michelle Segar, PhD, MPH, Associate Director, Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy (SHARP), Center for Women and Girls Health Policy Fellow, Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation, University of Michigan