The surge of motivation from New Year's starts to dissipate and by the end of January, over a third of resolvers have fallen off the wagon.
Public health experts think the key to success is to bring the 'fresh start' mindset of the beginning of the year to the beginning of every week. Research conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health shows that Monday is akin to a 'mini-New Year'.
‘People tend to separate their 'current self' from their 'imperfect past self' at the beginning of new time periods. This explain why Monday is the day people get back on track after weekend slip-ups.’
An analysis of health-related internet searches over an eight-year period showed a consistent surge at the beginning of the week. Research also shows that more people start diets and exercise regimens, quit smoking and schedule doctor's appointments on Monday than any other day.
New research out of the University of Pennsylvanias Wharton School supports the idea that the beginning of the week, like the beginning of the year and other temporal landmarks, is a time when people are motivated to initiate new goals. The study found that people tend to separate their 'current self' from their 'imperfect past self' at the beginning of new time periods, which helps explain why Monday is the day people get back on track after weekend slip-ups.
Reinforcing this 'fresh start' Monday mindset with weekly cues and reminders can be a powerful tool in helping people sustain healthy behaviors over time. That''s the idea behind the Monday Campaigns, a public health initiative that provides weekly recipes, health tips, guided meditations and other resources to help people quit smoking, eat healthier, exercise more and reduce stress among other popular resolutions.
Morgan Johnson, MPH, director of programs and research for The Monday Campaigns, says that the practice of a 'Healthy Monday Reset' can help people stick to their resolutions. This Monday (and every Monday thereafter), try these simple steps-
1. Hit the 'reset' button. Whatever unhealthy behaviors you got into over the weekend, forgive yourself, let them go, and start fresh.
2. Set your intentions. Decide what health goal you want to achieve or make a decision to recommit to a goal that you might have wandered from.
3. Make a plan. Break that bigger goal/resolution up into smaller more manageable steps and decide to take one small step each Monday.
4. Get everyone on board. Everyone is more inclined to think about health on Monday, so reach out to your community for support in achieving your health goal.
5. Keep at it. Remind yourself that slip-ups happen to everyone and that every Monday is a new chance to try again.