New Year, Better You
The start of a new year is always something of a contradiction with the desire to set new goals and establish positive routines clashing with social jet lag following a busy holiday season. Still, that doesn’t mean we should stop making resolutions altogether.
At its core, a New Year’s Resolution is based around the psychological concept of temporal landmarks, significant points in time promoting a break from the past, a sense of renewal, and a fresh start towards renewed aspirations and goals.[i]
These landmarks can take the form of dates or events accepted by society as meaningful or they can be personal and specific to an individual; for example, beginning anew after a birthday, or learning how to move forward after the passing of a loved one.
In terms of when this happens, the September Reset has been gaining in popularity but, for most people, it is still the New Year’s Resolution that reigns supreme.
So, let’s look at how can we best prepare for successful 2023!
Friends (and Fun) Have Benefits
As explained here, humans respond more strongly to immediate outcomes, and we are more likely to push forward with something if the end game is desirable. To that end, fun is an immediate outcome.
So, when considering a goal that may initially seem challenging, focus on ways to increase your level of enjoyment. For example, enlist a similarly motivated friend to take part in your resolution; many of us have a resolution to simply make more time for those we care about, so why not use your resolution to also take care of the surprisingly fraught ‘making plans’ part of hanging out?
Research has also shown something as simple as listening to an audio book can increase one’s commitment to working out.
In one study, full and intermediate treatment participants (those provided a listening device) visited the gym 51% and 29% more frequently, respectively, than control participants; additionally, after the study, 61% of all participants opted to pay to have gym-only access to iPods containing tempting audiobooks, suggesting demand for this commitment device.[ii]
If exercise is going to be part of your new routine and you feel you’ll need more than just a phone or a tablet to keep you on the elliptical, consider incorporating cordyceps mushrooms as part of your enhanced wellness routine.
Known to deliver energizing compounds, reduce fatigue and help you go harder and longer in all of life’s pursuits, cordyceps have also been shown to enhance oxygen utilization during intense exercise[iii]; this is noteworthy because increased aerobic capacity will improve outcomes by prolonging and intensifying workouts.
In the end, you may finish that acclaimed novel much sooner than anticipated.
Start Over…In The Middle
It’s a good question: If we have been goal setting our whole life, why do many of us struggle with it? For starters, we too often we set goals that are unattainable.
Sure, back in Grade 4 you may have successfully met your goal to spell a three-syllable word or master the eight times tables, but what’s up with the adult you saying you’re going to lose ten pounds in a month, or finish a marathon by Spring?
When goal-setting, what may seem ambitious is more often unreasonable, and this contributes to the overall low success rate of New Year’s Resolutions. Basically, rather than re-calibrating when things don’t go as planned, we too often quit altogether.
To avoid this, find a new beginning instead of feeling stuck in the middle. According to researchers, a new marker – such as the start of a new month or week – creates a Fresh Start Effect which functions to create new mental accounting periods, relegating past imperfections to a previous period, ultimately inducing people to take a big-picture view of their lives.[iv]
The aforementioned audiobook study noted treatment effects declined over time, particularly around American Thanksgiving; this makes sense - holidays offer the perfect confluence of opportunities to overindulge in many of life’s vices.
However, by utilizing the Fresh Start Effect, a holiday will merely act as a speed bump - as opposed to a brick wall – when it comes to meeting your goals.
More Turkey (No, Not That Kind)
When we gauge our lives through a wide lens, we are more likely to take positive steps towards improvement, and a straightforward change we can make is what we put into our bodies. Moreover, any meaningful change is challenging if we are not physically at our best.
Nutrient dense with super-charged benefits, mushrooms are an essential, science-backed element of any wellness routine and turkey tail mushrooms offer stress resistant, mood boosting properties that align with your desire for continued success.
Turkey tail is packed with essential and nonessential amino acids and studies have shown them to provide vitamin B3, linoleic acid, oleic acid, and linolenic acid in quantities confirming it as a promising source of functional bioactive products.[v]
As explained here, free radicals are unstable molecules that steal electrons from other molecules, damaging them in the process. Importantly, turkey tail is also a rich source of antioxidants, which are required to counteract these free radicals.
Seeing as we are just through the gift giving season, think of turkey tail as that friend who was impossible to buy for because they already had everything.
All Is Finally Calm
Try as we might, it can be difficult to avoid the seemingly inevitable stress of the holiday season, but making sure those same pressures don’t chase us into the new year is a crucial part of a successful transition.
To start, it is important to note not all forms of stress are harmful; for example, eustress is a type of short-term stress that can be a positive motivating factor in important, beneficial life decisions or moments.
However, when a stress response is repeatedly triggered in the absence of a challenging stimulus, or if there is constant exposure to challenging situations, stress can become harmful, and the failure to address triggers of stress has been shown to lead to chronic stress, anxiety and depression.[vi]
In order to meaningfully participate in recommended tools of emotional regulation like exercise, mindfulness or yoga, it is important to support our bodies ability to operate in a calm, less anxious state and Reishi mushrooms provide us an avenue to do so.
To that end, in a study designed to investigate its potential as a means of reducing stress and anxiety, it was clearly demonstrated that specific extracts from the reishi mushroom can be developed as source of new anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) agents.[vii]
Want more? Reishi can even help you relax by supporting the sustained success of your individual fitness goals.
Research has shown reishi extracts, known as ganoderic acids, significantly inhibited the abnormal growth of body weight and fat tissue in animals fed a high fat diet. Ganoderic acids also increased the level of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in the intestine. These findings suggest that ganoderic acid has the potential to support healthy lipid (fat) metabolism, alleviate metabolic disorders and support the gut microflora in a positive way.[viii]
Too often, we believe dramatic changes are needed in the transition from one year to the next when what we most need – and pick your metaphor - is a modest system update, fine tuning, or a little smoothing around the edges.
So, remember: phone a friend, have fun, and don’t be afraid to start fresh.
Happy New Year.
(ed. note - this article was written by Jared Stevens)
[i] Shum, M. l. (n.d.). Temporal Landmarks. ModelThinkers. Retrieved August 22, 2022, from https://modelthinkers.com/mental-model/temporal-landmarks.
[ii] Milkman, K. L., Minson, J. A., & Volpp, K. G. (2014). Holding the Hunger Games Hostage at the Gym: An Evaluation of Temptation Bundling. Management science, 60(2), 283–299. https://doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2013.1784
[iii] Yi, X., Xi-zhen, H. & Jia-shi, Z. Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial and assessment of fermentation product of Cordyceps sinensis (Cs-4) in enhancing aerobic capacity and respiratory function of the healthy elderly volunteers. Chin. J. Integr. Med. 10, 187–192 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02836405.
[iv] Dai, Hengchen, et al. “The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate AspirationalBehavior.” PsycEXTRA Dataset, 2013, https://doi.org/10.1037/e513702014-058.
[v] Kıvrak I, Kivrak S, Karababa E. Assessment of Bioactive Compounds and Antioxidant Activity of Turkey Tail Medicinal Mushroom Trametes versicolor (Agaricomycetes). Int J Med Mushrooms. 2020;22(6):559-571. doi: 10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.2020035027. PMID: 32865897.
[vi] Can, Y. S., Iles-Smith, H., Chalabianloo, N., Ekiz, D., Fernández-Álvarez, J., Repetto, C., Riva, G., & Ersoy, C. (2020). How to Relax in Stressful Situations: A Smart Stress Reduction System. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 8(2), 100. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare8020100
[vii] Singh R, Dhingra GS, Shri R. Evaluation of Antianxiety Potential of Four Ganoderma (Agaricomycetes) Species from India in Mice. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2016;18(11):991-998. doi: 10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.v18.i11.40. PMID: 28008811.
[viii] Guo, W.-L., Guo, J.-B., Liu, B.-Y., Lu, J.-Q., Chen, M., Liu, B., Bai, W.-D., Rao, P.-F., Ni, L. & Lv, X.-C. (2020, June 30). Ganoderic acid a from ganoderma lucidum ameliorates lipid metabolism and alters gut microbiota composition in hyperlipidemic mice fed a high-fat diet. Food & Function. Retrieved December 20, 2022, from https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2020/fo/d0fo00436g#!