I couple of reasons Sparkpoints can be helpful:
1) If you do the same routine - eating & exercising - every day it will get boring. Points prevent burn out by daily challenging you to do new things and learn new concepts. On busy days I goal for 25 pts, on days when I'm challenging myself I go for 50 pts. Of course there are days when you are doing everything right and sitting at the computer gets in the way - so what you know you're doing it all right and you can reward yourself mentally.
2) Keeps the mind positive - there will come that day when you over sleep, get a flat tire, are starting to get a cold, and your best friend is mad at you. We've all had the triple witching hour days. If you are in the habit of logging Sparkpoints, there is one great thing that happen in your day and you can seek help on community boards and get a ton of support.
3) Keeps you in the game for the whole season - we all can motivate ourselves for a month or two, but it is hugely hard to keep it up for month after month. Especially if it just snowed or you can't find that right tennis shoe hidden under the bed. If you have a daily habit of logging in, it will link in your internal desire to do the rest of your routine. There is scientific research that shows people that have consistency in healthy habits have daily rituals that help cue the mind. Feeling rewarded actually changes the chemistry in the brain to help motivate us on new paths. **link at bottom
4) A trophy to celebrate your hard work - it is easy for your hard work to get lost in your mind, but to look back and say WOW look all that I've done. This is especially true if you are setting aside a particular goal like running a 5K. You can reward yourself with a special Spark goodie on the day you do it, so you are look back and see the treasure of your successes for the year.
5) Build friendships - If I move to another city, I already have friends where I'm going. They are built by following blogs, encouraging emails and page comments and by giving Spark goodies for birthdays, special goals reached or support during hard times. I have Spark friends that I stay as close to as the friend I have in my own local.
6) Bridges to new levels in life - there will be the day you over train, or get a blister on your heel that prevents you from doing exercise, yet with Spark points you are encouraged to view other peoples paths. Even when you are down, you can start creating new vision of yourself. Just when I think I have the perfect concept of eating or what to do with my life, I get inspired off of reading a success profile. This path is mental as well as body and by reaching out and encouraging others, I'm always pushed to being a more caring, empathetic person in my journey.
7) Keeps you honest - by daily log ins to track exercise and food when you hit a wall you can take an solid look at what is going on. Small habits can add up in big ways both positive and negative - your trackers will reveal that. This honesty in tracking can also help your memory as you need to go back to a time period where you were successful or if you need to share with a doctor the changes in your life.
8) This is a life time lifestyle NOT a diet - if you're in this just for a short quick fix, Spark points will get in the way. If you are going for a life time, they are clock in your day. A daily reminder of where you are in your game plan and a daily reminder of the person that you are becoming and maintaining.
9) Will allow you to plan for the future better - after a few years you can look back and see that your numbers drop during certain times. This allows you to plan for those times by looking for ideas from other people's pages. I discovered a personal health problem this way, by seeing every time I ate certain foods there was a drop in my levels of activities. This literally has saved my life, because it would have take doctors years to discover if left only to symptom based medicine. Now I can change my food tracking levels to reflect my body's individual needs.
The longer I've been on Spark, the more reasons I see. Just like changes to diet, Sparkpoints are not an all or nothing thing. Do what helps you. I know for me the initial two most important things were tracking food and exercise. If that's all you do, great! Next I found adding in daily news articles, so I was thinking about the world from a health driven space as being stimulating. It grew from there. There are many people that use TV or computer games at the end of the day as a stress reducer. I don't anymore, I use Sparkpoints.
It's all up to you how much you want to do! newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/jan2012/feature
Edited by: KGWINDER at: 7/17/2012 (22:36)