With the holiday season nearing, you may have already considered what your next New Year’s Resolution will be. Trimming off an extra couple of pounds, cutting out that extra glass of wine or cocktail each night or getting into the routine of exercising regularly and eating right are all great goals to set for yourself.
Striving for you new year’s fitness goals feels refreshing for the first few weeks of the year, but when the excitement of new beginnings wears off and you have to maintain your routine long-term, you’ll wish you had a friendly reminder that this change is meant to be long-term.
The benefits of using short-messaging services, like text messages, to promote healthy behaviors goes back over a decade. A study by Health Informics published in 2009 shows the particular benefits of using text messaging as an aid to form positive habits over the long-term.
For a six-month period, a group of women participated in a pilot study in which they received ongoing text messages during a weight management program. These women, ages 30-65, were sent at least three text messages each week including motivational messages, general messages and behavioral reminders. Many of the women chose to create their own messages for the study.
After the study, all but three of the 73 women surveyed said they read the text messages (96%). Almost 80% of those women said they benefitted from them. Here are some of the responses women gave in conclusion to the study:
“It’s help[ed] me make better choices, of deciding what I’ll have to eat for the day.”
“…the text messages were very effective. I just wish they would have started [earlier]…”
“You should text more because that is like a little person on your shoulder helping you make the right choice.”
Feedback given by these women is an indication that text messaging services can help positive behavioral changes last longer. That means your New Year’s Resolution to hit the gym will not end after three weeks, but turn into a healthy lifestyle change that is easy to maintain.
Even if it’s a push notification — like the ones you get from Facebook and Instagram — it still acts as a indication that you chose a better way of life for yourself and you are going to stick to it. A message as simple as, “Drop the donut! Try a low-calorie breakfast bar instead,” is often the only encouragement you need to make the right decision about your behavior.
Researchers found that while weight loss is achievable through lifestyle modifications, the maintenance of weight reduction beyond six months is a challenge. The expectation of a short-term behavioral change may lead to regaining [weight], they say. A series of reminders helps to remind you that the great feeling you have in that moment will only last if you continue to maintain that positive behavior.
While Thanksgiving, Christmas, Channukah and other year-end holidays are all reminders of how much we are loved by our family and friends, they are also reminders of how much we enjoy food and libations. Instead of letting yourself go during the holidays in preparation for the new year, spend the last month and a half of 2015 being prepared for the positive change you want to see in your life. It may seem easier to spend the next six weeks sizing up your goals and waiting until January 1 to implement them, especially if it includes weight loss.
Caterpilly is the perfect resource to get the support you need to promote healthy behaviors through text messages. Try it out today to live healthier tomorrow.