The first step in creating healthier habits is to know your baseline, where you are starting and what areas need the most improvement. “I need to eat healthier” is very vague and does not tell you what to do. When you do know which direction to go, it is important to know the first step and not bite off more than you can chew. Another important step to making a change in your behavior is to track your progress and recognize incremental improvements. If we do not allow ourselves to feel good about the small steps toward improvement that we make, the process can seem overwhelming, and we can be tempted to give up on our goals.
While there are many smartphone apps that can aid in tracking and even some that can make suggestions for improvements, perfect for busy days where taking the time to write down what you are doing and eating is likely to fall to the bottom of your to-do list. While you can start again the next day, many people stop using an app once they have missed a day or two. I am hopeful the new UP bracelet from Jawbone may make the entire process of creating healthier habits easier.
The Jawbone UP is a waterproof wristband, similar in size to a Livestrong band, with embedded sensors that connect to your smartphone to track behaviors such as eating, sleep, and physical activity. It is expected to be released by the end of this year. The free app will track your data and make suggestions for improvement. It sounds like suggestions will be made using the kaizen theory. It sounds really cool that you can input your daily diet by snapping photos of your food, but I wonder how much people will follow through with this. I am also interested to see just how the app works and if it includes push notifications.
For most people, New Years marks a clear point for making a lifestyle change that is intended to last a lifetime. Lent on the other hand, for the religious, is a time of temporary self denial or restriction to increase focus. There are several reasons that a greater percentage of people are successful with Lenten fasts than New Years habit changes. Even if you do not celebrate Lent, these ideas may help you be more successful with your own behavior change.
The first reason many are more successful with habit change during Lent (even if it is temporary) is that they are striving to sacrifice for something that has personal meaning to him or her. Religion is one outlet for existential energy for many people. Existential energy is about those things that give your life meaning, becoming a better person, and those things about which you are passionate. When we strive after these things, we often feel more energized and more motivated to meet the goals we have set for ourselves.