A new questionnaire based on psychological research from leading national scientific agency CSIRO aims to help Australians improve their well-being in 2021 and beyond.
The personalized tool is designed to help users develop long-term strategies to improve their well-being and overcome motivational slumps in the new year.
The app works by evaluating the reasons behind a person’s desire to change their health habits and adapting practical advice to help achieve their goal.
An analysis of more than 11,000 people found that the majority of 93 percent were motivated to lose weight to feel good and improve their quality of life.
A close second was health as a driver, with 89% of people motivated by the prospect of a healthier lifestyle.
CSIRO research scientist Dr. Gilly Hendrie said that after a difficult year in 2020, many people would be looking to improve their physical and emotional health this year.
“Our research shows that the confinement took its toll on the minds and bodies of Australians,” said Dr Hendrie.
“We look at the factors that help people change behavior and we incorporate it.”
While weight loss is a common factor behind the desire to exercise or change your diet, Dr. Hendrie said that a more holistic approach is beneficial in helping people stay motivated.
“There have been psychological studies that suggest that the quality of motivation can influence your success,” he said.
“You can be more successful in meeting your goals if your motivation is internal, for example, to feel good to improve quality of life than something that is more external like wanting to look a certain way.
“The mental cost is something that must be taken into account and the questionnaire is based on helping to improve the general well-being of people.”
Dr. Hendrie said that setting achievable goals and ensuring people have access to manageable, step-by-step tips to achieve them is another key to success.
“Setting a long-term goal is important, but taking those small steps is important and remembering why you are doing it.
“The diet itself draws on many years of scientific outreach and, more recently, they focused more on wellness.”
“There are a lot of programs going on right now and we are trying to make this a lifestyle change, not just a short-term thing so that people can improve their overall well-being this year and beyond.”
CSIRO behavioral scientist Dr. Emily Brindal said that understanding people’s reasons for starting a formal weight loss program was critical to helping them stay committed once New Year’s resolutions have waned.
“‘New Years, New Me’ resolutions can often be spontaneous, and we all know that despite the best of intentions, levels of motivation often decline as challenges arise,” said Dr. Brindal .