Most of us have felt overwhelmed at one time or another as we endeavored to make lifestyle changes.
I often recommend a good place to begin is to start making small measurements.
This usually involves a weekly record of weight and waist measurements, as well as perhaps time spent exercising.
These measurements are extremely effective for helping with weight loss, as well as improving your health and fitness levels.
I’ve posted about this in the past, when I discussed the research findings that keeping a food diary can double weight loss.
The reason for this is something called the “Hawthorne Effect.”
The Hawthorne Effect
In the early 20th century, the Hawthorne Works factory set about studying if their workers would become more productive in higher or lower levels of light.
Surprisingly, they found that workers worked harder no matter how dim, or bright, the light was.
What did that mean?
Well, these experiments revealed that workers’ productivity improved when any changes were made. This increase in productivity is thought to be the result of simply being measured.
Basically, measuring something equals increased motivation.
This method is certainly something you could implement into your own lifestyle change. And it’s very simple to do.
By making your chosen measurements, you will have more motivation to keep going, and you will see how much you are improving as time goes on.
You may like to measure,
- Your weight
- Your fruit and vegetable intake
- Your water intake
- How many lifts you can preform in a certain exercise
- How many minutes you can run on a treadmill
- Or, something completely different
Making The Hawthorne Method Work For You
Dustin, from Fit Marriage, recently discussued how this method helped him to start drinking more water, flossing, and being more active,
The paper was folded down to pocket-sized so that I could always have it with me. I wrote down the items that I wanted to track in the first column, and then added the days of the week in the remaining columns. Then, I took a few minutes each afternoon to note what I had accomplished and what was left to complete.
It took me less than a week to become aware of these activities without the list. I began to almost feel guilty about not flossing each morning, because I knew that I was “supposed” to (after nearly 3 decades of being told the same thing by dentists). Every cup of coffee or juice was consciously followed by a glass of water. The elevator didn’t look as appealing as the stairs.
All because I started tracking whether or not I did something.
So, how can you being to make similar changes?
1. Decide What To Record
Pick one to three things you want to improve, then get recording.
There’s no point choosing a huge number of things to change, because your list will be totally overwhelming, and you will more than likely get nowhere.
This reminds me of “analysis paralysis,” where we over-analyze a situation, so that a decision or action is never taken.
Keeping things simple is the secret to making this work…
2. Keep It Simple
Try not to get really technical with this, as that will just be another reason for not following through with it.
I suggest following Dustin’s lead, by using a simple sheet of paper, then recording only the basic details, or simply giving a tick where appropriate.
Remember, it is the act of becoming more aware of what you are doing or not doing, which makes this effective, so don’t worry about making detailed notes.
3. Maintain The Momentum
As you become more conscious of what you are doing, you can gradually build on your initial goals.
Perhaps, after some time, you notice you can easily run for 10 minutes on the treadmill at a moderate pace. So, why not try adding some intervals of high intensity sprinting into your routine to boost your fitness levels?
Apply this to whatever goals you have set for yourself. The aim is to keep moving yourself forward.
What changes would you like to make to improve your health?