How To Boost Your Vitality

Here are a few tips on how to achieve your personal health goals and stick with them:

Ditch the Stick Do you use the ‘stick’ approach to help you achieve your goals? Do you punish yourself in ways such as putting money into a piggy bank if you have a cigarette or making yourself exercise if you indulge in chocolate? This can create a negative mindset around healthy living and make you more reluctant to set goals for fear of the consequences if you don’t achieve them.

Choose the right-sized carrot A more positive method is using incentives. Giving yourself a reward after doing a healthy activity competes with the instant reward of ‘not doing it’ more effectively than the long-term reward of ‘good health’. The key is getting the right-sized reward over the right timescale. Saving up the money you would have spent on cigarettes to put towards an amazing holiday is an appealing reward because it is a large one but – like the reward of long-term good health – it can feel a long way off and you may give up before you get there. Balance big rewards with little daily or monthly indulgences to help keep you motivated along the way. Some of our favourite ways of rewarding ourselves could be spending money saved for a rainy day, retail therapy and chocolate – closely followed by going out for a meal and bubble baths.

Three vital steps The science of behavioural economics looks at what makes people change their behaviour. When it comes to health, studies show we don’t behave entirely rationally. Simply knowing what to do is not enough to make you do it. To change your habits and adopt a healthier lifestyle there are three critical steps:

  1. Make it personal: There’s so much information available that people struggle to focus on what their own health needs truly are, and what they should do to improve them. Vitality helps you understand your own individual health and provides tailored feedback and specific goals.
  2. Change needs to be easy: People find many reasons not to change their behaviour for the better, from the cost involved to the time and effort needed within a busy lifestyle. It is easy and inexpensive to involve yourself in healthy activities such as half-price gym memberships or bicycles, or discounts on health screens and stop-smoking courses.
  3. Instant wins: People value short-term gains more highly than long-term ones so the instant pleasure of a cake wins over the longer-term reward of good health. The more effort people make to improve their health, the bigger the health benefits.

So go on, treat yourself to help keep you on track to achieving your goals for a fabulous and fit you.

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