7 October 2010
Mark makes the simple but seemingly obvious point about why the health promotion sector has been roundly failing to get people to change their habits. If you don’t have time to click through the stories, the short version is that the most senior elements of the medical profession are still attempting to get people to take control of their own risk behaviours for health - smoking, drinking and getting fat - by issuing a ethical and moral appeal direct at the individual. Mark points out that it cannot work on it’s own. We are social beings and it’s too hard to act individually swim against the tide of what everyone around you is doing.
Kids that go to boarding school end up with totally different accents from their parents - almost permanently. Go on a holiday where there isn’t a culture of sitting around, drinking, eating and not doing much (like a mountaineering trip) and you’ll probably come home a pound or two lighter, without even trying.
Some goes for your sport performance, training, whatever. The best way to get into a national team is to spend a stack of time with everyone else who is doing the same. I feel that it’s not necessary to make this a permanent move. It’s about hardwiring a new set of habits, norms, standards. It takes a bit of time to get there. But once you are there it’s possible to operate in isolation with only sporadic refreshers. In other words, beyond a certain point you can partially insulate yourself from settling for a second rate effort at being good at sport, even if you regularly train with others who do.