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Why Mental Health is the Biggest Factor in Achieving and Maintaining Goals

How many times have you heard about someone who started a weight loss program, did well for the first week or two, then hit a roadblock and gave up? Or that they succeeded and lost the weight, but then a few months later were right back to where they started? This is the sad truth... Almost ALL of people attempting to lose weight or have lost weight eventually gain their weight back, and some gain back even more than they lost. Maybe this person was you. We succeed, but almost always… eventually we fall back to where we started.


Why Don’t Our Changes Stick? How Can We Make Our Changes Permanent?


The answer is inside the brain in a process called neurogenesis. Neurogenesis is the process of forming new neurons in the brain. Physical activity activates neurogenesis which, in turn, helps create new thought process and behaviors over time. The problem is most of these new neurons which create changed thinking and behaviors die within several weeks when left unused, so those thoughts and behaviors disappear. This is why most times, people who start and finish weight loss goals tend to lose their progress and wind up back where they started.


How Do We Create New Behaviors and Make Sure They Last?


Research has shown that mental and physical improvement together is more beneficial than either alone. Physical exercise increases the number of new neurons and mental training helps maintains their survival.


This mental improvement is key in ensuring that the changes you make are life-long and permanent. Because what is the point of doing all that work if you’re just going to end up back at square one? This involves as little as 20 minutes a day of self-regulation work, meaning working on abstaining from bad habits and unhelpful coping mechanisms for 20 minutes to help build more self-control and reinforce the new behaviors you want.


It doesn’t take much, but if you’re working hard to achieve your goals then I encourage you to work just as hard to make sure they stick. By including mental improvement along with your physical improvement, you can succeed in having your growth and lifestyle changes be lasting.

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