Finally, we are staying up later and getting up earlier to meet those deadlines. On average, we get 1.5 hours less zzzzzs than we did about 100 years ago. Not only that but we spend far more time busy, busy, busy when we are awake than we ever used to.Now, change happens. We shouldn't expect to always do things the way we used to, and we're not suggesting that. Food, in all its irresistible varieties, is much more available. Are we supposed to just The 60 Day Fix not eat it. Well, uh, it wouldn't hurt to pass on the second helping of triple chocolate cheesecake now and then.And no, we can't jog around our office but we can do simple things to introduce more activity into our day. Walk instead of drive those 1-mile errands. Park further from the door, take the stairs . . . you've heard all this before. So why don't we do it?
One reason is that no one likes to be told what to do and subjected to some guilt trip, most people just don't respond to that. Also, most people haven't really thought about what they really want their health to look like or developed a reasonable plan to reach their health-goals. As the old adage says, "If you don't know where you are going, you are sure to get there", plus it helps to have a map. Finally, even with a plan many folks will give up after the first sign of failure or fatigue. These changes don't become easy until we make them an integral part of our lives.
So how do you motivate people to take action to maintain their health? Since everyone is different, many options exist. The obvious answer, that will motivate the most people, is money, money, money . . . money (did you hear 'The Apprentice' theme song).At a policy level, it would be exceptionally helpful if the next president worked to create incentives for healthy lifestyles and behaviors. Now, I know this is easy to say, probably not as easy to do (and keep everyone happy), but you have to walk before you run.What if the next presidential administration actually incentivized (is that a word yet?) us to take better care of ourselves? What if health insurance companies gave discounts to people that tried to live a healthy lifestyle?
What if the government gave us tax breaks to eat healthier food and exercise? What if each individual had one government subsidized continuing education, or self-enrichment class each year? Would this reduce the overall health care burden for employers and make it more affordable to cover more people? Help reduce sick days and increase productivity and creativity? Hmmm....We realize there are many caveats to implementing such a plan but something has to be done and maybe some bright politician can figure out how to do it. Who would lose if the country were to improve their health?