Whether you have a resolution for the new year or not, you may be interested to hear that a study from England has demonstrated that you'll be far more likely to succeed if you aren't trying to do it alone. Whether it's weight loss, quitting smoking or doing exercise that is your goal, you will be three times more likely to achieve it if you have a partner attempting to do the same.
The study looked at data from more than 3,700 married or cohabiting couples aged 50 and older, demonstrating how much of an affect our partners can have on our behavior and attitudes. The team only evaluated couples with existing unhealthy behaviors (such as smoking or not exercising) and monitored them for four years to establish whether any adopted better habits. They noted that when both individuals made a behavioral change, it was far more likely to stick than if just one did. For example, a smoker was two times more likely to quit if their partner was a non-smoker and ten times more likely to quit if their partner was a smoker who was also giving up the habit. Similar effects were also seen with other negative health behaviors.
This research supports the idea that public health campaigns should be focused less on individuals and more on partner or group goals. The evidence from the study can be extended out past cohabiting partners to friends, family and colleagues. If you know someone with a similar goal to yours, for example weight loss, you can encourage each other and keep your motivation. From my own experience, the likelihood of both of you wanting to skip a workout on any given day is lower than one of you wanting to!
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