Healthy lifestyles - intention and commitment

Tuesday 16 December, 2008

There is more talk of health and wellbeing than ever before. But a new survey shows that while awareness of how to live well is at an all-time high, many people still aren't following through.


The Pruhealth Vitality Index, carried out by Mori, questioned a cross-section of 3,000 UK adults.


More specifically, there appears to be a wide gap between knowledge and action - while 81% of Britons say they know what they should be doing to stay healthy, only 58% say they actually follow this through.


Under half the 3,000 questioned adults describe their fitness levels as good, and only 24% eat the recomended five a day portions of fruit and vegetables.


Two thirds think they over overweight, and a staggering 80% feel they are under stress.


On the plus side, David Grainger, senior fellow at Cambridge University, says people are now receptive to messages about healthy lifestyles and the importance of balance.


The New Year is traditionally seen as the perfect time to bin old habits - 'New Year; New You', a million headlines will scream.


It is generally agreed, however, that carving out a new, healthy, all-singing, all -dancing, lifestyle, takes time, commitment and a strong measure of kindly endurance.


January, with its short days and frosts, is generally not the time to make radical lifestyle shifts (that is best left to the kinder days of Spring).


Best to focus, then, on one or two major goals, rather than a plethora of minor intentions that, come February 1st, still haven't come to fruition.


In yoga terms, following through on intention means approaching your practice (and attitude to life) with commitment, patience, and receptivity.


Beginning a home yoga practice for only 15 minutes a day is enough to break old patterns of thinking and feel a hundred times better, both physically and mentally.


More importantly, following through one or two heartfelt New Year resolutions can be a huge motivation to make changes in other areas of our routine and lifestyle.


The pattern of intention, practice and resolution is a lifelong, potentially life-changing journey. Why not begin right now?


Lucia Cockcroft, editor








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