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New Years Resolutions, Gamification and Maintaining a Healthy Behaviour Change


Gamification, #NewMe2013 and Maintaining a Healthy Behavior Change

This post is about New Years Resolutions . How to phrase the goal so you are more likely to succeed. It includes a link from Dr Mike Evans about the reasons why New Year is a good time to make a change, and includes some useful websites and tech ideas that could help us succeed in maintaining those healthy behaviors we have in mind.

Please watch the videos from the links and consider tweeting your New Years Resolution for 2013 with the #NewMe2013 hashtag.

If you know of other sites or ideas that you would like to share then please comment below.

Why now ?

Well we are almost at 2013 and this is an opportunity for us to have a think about those resolutions we made 12 months ago and reflect on how successful we have been in sticking to them. What went well, what didnt go so well ?

This time last year I was planning on losing weight – and guess what ? Losing weight is still on my list of things I plan on achieving in 2013. What can I do differently ? Is this the best time to make the change ? This website from Dr Mike Evans gives a good overview of the reasons why New Years resolutions are more likely to succeed compared to plans made at other times of the year. Its a good place to start.

http://www.myfavouritemedicine.com/new-years-resolutions/

Goal Setting using SMART Principles.

OK so you want to set a goal. I recommend using the SMART principles. Make your goal

S Specific, M measurable, A Achievable, R Realistic, T Time limited.

Aim for something that you are reasonably happy about achieving eg 80% likely to succeed.

Remember that if you don’t succeed , you can make the goal a bit easier. If you break the goal into smaller goals you will get to the top of your mountain eventually.

If you want to exercise more you could use the following idea as a template;

I will walk 3 times per week, starting from Monday. Each walk will be at least 20 mins long. I will do this for January then review my progress.

Find some way of recording your progress. This could be as simple as making a note on a piece of paper tacked to the inside of a kitchen cupboard or you could use a health app ( see below )

The important point is to be able to give yourself a pat on the back when you hit your target. Learn from your experience and maybe make the next goal a bit harder.

Useful Things to Help Motivate People – these are the foundations to build your resolutions on ; useful in helping to motivate people to try exercising more , take less alcohol or eat smaller portions.

The first is another cartoon from Dr Mike Evans about the benefits of exercising more. It also answers the question “how much exercsie do i need to do to make a difference?” http://www.myfavouritemedicine.com/23-and-a-half-hours/

For the smokers out there these links are excellent , again from Dr Evans

http://www.myfavouritemedicine.com/smoking/

Wanting to lose weight ? remember the calories in your alcoholic drink. This infographic from Drinkaware.co.uk is thought provoking.

http://www.drinkaware.co.uk/facts/calories-in-alcohol/infographic

The videos online from the Mindless Eating people are handy to consider the next time you are at a buffet or popcorn stall. http://www.mindlesseating.org/ I like the “never ending soup bowl experiment”

http://www.exercise-works.org/ Ann Gates of exercise works has been a great source of tweets over the past year. I recommend checking out her site and subscribing to @exerciseworks

The LiveWell pages from the NHS Choices site are also well worth checking out for the wide range of things on offer. eg BMI calculator or some tips for how to start exercising if you are new to this http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/Pages/Livewellhub.aspx

Gamification

Gamification is all about how can a “boring” activity that doesn’t create immediate rewards be tweaked so that it becomes more fun. I am well aware of the benefits of living a more “healthy lifestyle” with a more appropriate balance of energy consumed and energy burnt off etc but other things just manage to sneak up the list of priorities. Yes I feel great after going for a run , even in the rain, but why don’t I make time to exercise every single day? Maybe gamification is the answer ?

This post from The New York Times explains now a company decided to use gamification to increase the employees use of fitness facilities.

Final Thoughts ;

Gamification , weight loss & aiming for a more healthy lifestyle are things that I have been interested in for a while with varied levels of success. Now thanks to Santa bringing me a set of WiFi enabled scales I can step up my plans for 2013. The scales automatically log my weight via an app, which in turn links in with anther app that can use GPS to track & record exercise levels. I can also add other types of exercise eg crosstrainer use at the gym. This will make it much easier for me to “gamify my weight loss goals”.

Wish me luck world !!! Please give me a shout out here or tweet me @stuartberry1

http://www.withings.com/en/bodyscale are the scales I am using

Runkeeper is the name of the GPS app and Withings is the app which tracks weight & helps goals to be set. http://runkeeper.com/

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7 comments on “New Years Resolutions, Gamification and Maintaining a Healthy Behaviour Change

  1. englishyogi
    31/12/2012

    Great ideas and very inspirational
    i am just reviewing last years objectives and assessing what i did wrong and right
    i like the gamification principle
    i would be delighted to hang out later in early 2013 to compare notes, tricks and tips

    best wishes
    Lancashire Yogi

  2. emmacardernutrition
    31/12/2012

    Great links and inspiration for us all Stuart thanks :-) My aim next year is simply to be ‘more active more often’ as this is something I always struggle with! Be great to hangout and share where we are all up to with our aims in the New Year!
    Best Wishes
    Emma

  3. Pingback: Links for January 1, 2013 | Andrzej's Links

  4. Pingback: Be kind (to yourself, and others) « a very english yogi

  5. Blake Henderson
    30/05/2013

    Hi Stuart,

    I came across your blog via twitter. Couldn’t agree more that we have to keep people engaged for wellness exercise to work. We’ve created a free online resource for balance training and fall prevention. It’s personalizable, Physical therapist-lead, and includes some gaming elements. We believe it has strong application for people wishing to age safely in their homes, as well as for those battling osteoporosis and MS. You can find us at primewellness dot com.

    Please excuse the self-promotion. Just trying to get the word out! Thanks,

    Blake

    • @stuartberry1
      02/06/2013

      Thanks Blake. Do you have any examples of your programmes I could see without having to set up account ?

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