Make Your Bed Every Day (And Why It’s Better than a New Year’s Resolution)

This year, fitness and weight loss will again likely top Americans’ New Year’s Resolution (NYR) list, just like it did last year, and probably will next year.

It did in 2015, according to the Nielsen ratings company, but the stats were crushing: 

•   75 percent of resolutions continued through the entire first week of January

•   46 percent make it past six months

•   39 percent of people in their 20s will achieve their resolution each year

•   14 percent of people over 50 will achieve theirs

So, how can you beat those odds this year?

Behavior change is tough. Changing human behavior takes time, a plan, and effort.  It’s a constant methodical practice of planning, assessing the plan, checking for real results, and sometimes “going back to the drawing board.” A while back, I wrote about habits and how we can change “bad” ones and begin newer healthier ones. We all know there is quite a disconnect — or wide divide — between what we want from ourselves on the fitness front and what we actually achieve.

The key for me – and really a lot of the research on living a healthy life — is starting the day off right. Don’t fret about yesterday; start today new. According to Dr. BJ Fogg, Director of the Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford University, making long-term behavior change requires one of the three following actions:

Option A. Have an epiphany

Option B. Change your environment (what surrounds you)

Option C. Take baby steps

He has started a movement called tinyhabits.com where he has coached almost 50,000 people to create habits. One of the cool habits his program espouses is to make your bed every morning. Why? It starts your day off “with a win.”

In a post about how to start your day like a champion, one of his coaches provides the five following actions: 

1. Stop the snooze. Wake before the rest of your family and meditate, pray, or journal.

2. Make your bed. After your feet touch the floor, fluff your pillow.

3. Watch the sun rise. Exposure to natural light, particularly in the morning, has beneficial effects on the mood, alertness, and metabolism.

4. Hydrate with citrate. Adding a squeeze of lemon and downing a glass of water in the morning helps reduce inflammation, stave off infection, and stimulates enzyme production.

5. Don’t wake the kids. Awakening themselves – on time — teaches your kids a life skill.

This year, you can make a generic goal of “I want to get fit,” OR you can be as specific as you can and accomplish true fitness through daily (tiny) habits. Perhaps do it differently; call it something different. Construct your own starting tomorrow morning, January 5, 2017; make it a personal mission to make fitness and health a priority. Baby steps.

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