Become a Choice Architect – Things to Do to Improve Your General Health and Fitness
Let’s start with something that, in itself, won’t improve your health, but will make it much more likely that you’ll successfully enact some of the other 99 tips in this series post. Behavioral economists talk about the importance of choice architecture, or the environment in which we make choices. The classic example is the difference between an employer-matched retirement fund where participation requires choosing to enroll, versus enrollment as the default option. In the latter case, more employees participate.
The gist of the field’s teaching is to make it easy to do the right thing. Choice architecture is key for daily and long-term success in healthy living. Knowledge is power, and I hope that this book will give you several ideas on simple steps you can take to almost immediately improve your health. But whatever you read here or elsewhere will remain more of an interesting factoid than life-changing guidance without the right environment in which to implement it. About strengthening the front neck muscles to be able to hold better head posture. I learned this simple exercise from four-time Olympian Meb Keflezighi, who recommends it as a way to improve running form. I’ve found it immensely helpful in relieving, and even preventing, the shoulder and upper-back pain I get when I spend too much time in front of my computer.As I’m writing this sentence, a small green ball I use for the exercise is inches away on the table where I am working. Keeping the ball in sight and in reach reminds me to take a short break two or three times a day to strengthen my neck. If I kept the ball anywhere else, I’d be much less likely to do this exercise, no matter how good my intentions are. Similar examples abound: Keep your pantry stocked with healthful staples so that when you’re tired and famished, your default dinner isn’t to have a pizza delivered. Keep a water bottle at your desk to make it more likely that you’ll stay hydrated throughout the work day. Schedule exercise time as you do other appointments to increase the likelihood of it happening.Surround yourself with people with similar health goals so that your preferred way of living seems normal. And so on. Set up your life so that it’s easy to do the right thing for your health.