Many of us have…and the good news is most of us are probably still on track since we are just a couple of days into the new year!
The age-old question is…
how long will we be able to stay committed to our resolutions…and why are some people able to follow-through while others are not?
There have been many, many studies on this, and one intriguing theory comes from an Austrian philosopher and economist named Ludwig von Mises. Believe it or not, his theory, called the human action model, actually makes a lot of sense, especially for those of us wanting to make some type of lasting change.
He says 3 things are required for someone to commit to a meaningful change:
- A sense of unease with the current situation
- A vision of a better state
- A path to get there
This week and next week, we want to provide more insights into each of these areas, starting with a sense of unease.
Why do you need a sense of unease?
Think about any lasting change you have made. You were probably uncomfortable with your situation at the time, which created a motivation to change. No matter what type of change you want to make, if there is no sense of unease, how can you find the motivation to make a lasting change?
What about wanting to eat healthy?
For some, unease can come from a heart attack or a diagnosis of diabetes, heart disease, cancer or some other illness that creates a sudden “shock” (unease) and an urgent desire to make a change.
For us, about 12 years ago, we realized we were not as healthy as we needed to be and were stuck in a rut eating foods that were far from nutritious! But what really created a sense of unease was realizing our kids were becoming addicted to these same foods. We were fed up! We were concerned we weren't living our best lives. We were anxious about our kids being able to make healthy choices as they grew up. We knew they were watching us and something had to change!
This sense of unease lit a motivational fire in us…until then, our attempts to change were unsuccessful. The reality is, if you don’t have a sense of unease about your current situation, it will be extremely difficult to make a lasting change.
So, why should we have a sense of unease about our current eating habits?
We know you have probably heard some of these numbers before, but consider this:
- What is the leading risk factor for death and disability in the U.S.? It’s our diet quality…specifically, our suboptimal diet quality. Major contributors are insufficient intake of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and seafood, as well as excessive intake of sodium. (source: American Heart Association)
- What percentage of children have a healthy diet pattern ideal for cardiovascular health? Less than 1%. For adults, it is 1.5%. (source: American Heart Association)
- What percentage of the U.S. adult population has diabetes or is at high risk of developing diabetes? Close to 50%! Over 100 million U.S. adults have diabetes or pre-diabetes (source: CDC).
- How does diabetes affect your life span? At the age of 50, someone with diabetes is expected to live an average of 6 years LESS than those without diabetes. And, those with the highest levels, who don't manage their weight, blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol, can potentially live 10 years LESS than those without diabetes. (source: CDC)
- How much did life expectancy in the U.S. rise last year? It didn’t…it fell in the most recent data released in August 2022 (see graph on the right from the CDC Vital Statistics Rapid Release Report No. 23). Declining the past two years has been the biggest two-year decline in life expectancy in 100 years. In the most recent data, deaths increased for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease, among others. Heart disease and cancer remain the largest causes of death. (source: CDC)
- Our weight keeps increasing! More than 2 out of 3 adults…and 1 out of 3 children ages 6-19…are considered overweight or obese (source: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases).
- What percentage of the U.S. adult population has hypertension? 116 million, or about 47%, of U.S. adults have hypertension (source: CDC). Hypertension is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure and kidney disease.
It may not be evident on a day-to-day basis, but the reality is our eating habits are causing health problems…and even killing us. If those statistics don’t create a sense of unease, take two minutes to watch this video.
Are you or a loved one looking to eat more healthfully?
If so, do you have a sense of unease with your current situation?
There is hope!
Start with one thing and look for ideas next week how to create a vision of a better state, plus a path to get there!