There is lots of research available today on why we fail to start something new or pursue a personal goal.  As a wellness coordinator and trainer, I enjoy reading new ways to help motivate people to reach new goals and improve their quality of life.  Most interesting article I read was from the Reader’s Digest, ‘The Power of Fake Pills’!  Jumping to the point, the article is about placebo pills working even when you know they’re not real.  So, what does taking placebo’s have to do with starting new resolutions? 

Simple, anything will work if you convince your mind that it will work!  This applies to all age groups, it’s not a matter of old age or even being young.  In the article, there were 4 studies done on 4 different conditions.  Irritable bowel syndrome patients took 2 placebo pills a day and reported greater improvement in symptoms than those taking actual treatments.  Chronic lower back pain patients had greater reduction in pain than those taking medications such as Tylenol.  Migraine patients had the same amount of relief from a placebo as they did from actual medication.  Lastly, fatigue caused by cancer treatment.  Cancer patients taking placebo pills had greater improvement in reducing fatigue vs. medications that treat fatigue. 

Skeptical, I am sure!  However, think of it this way.  We have done this with our kids, “take this doll or stuffed animal, you will be safe and sleep better tonight!”  Same thing was mentioned in the article related to adults when receiving medical care.  Symbols and rituals of health care (injection from someone with a lab coat) have been known to help people get over various conditions even when medications were not prescribed.  Why, because we believe it works!  

The take home message I want to give to you is, you can make your own placebo!  Your placebo doesn’t have to come in pill form.  Walking, playing cards, shooting pool, exercise classes and even outside games can be your placebo!  As we age, we tend to focus on our issues more than the opportunities.  Some of us have acquired issues over the years that cannot be changed.  This however is still not a good excuse to avoid doing new things.  Start thinking positive, your failed resolutions will soon become that exciting phrase I hear from wellness participants all the time, “I can’t believe I did it!”  That’s my goal this year, encourage residents to feel better, do more and reduce the risk of needing higher level of care that raises stress and cost more money! If you’re still thinking about joining wellness classes, start! I assure it will be the best choice you make for 2019! Happy New Year!        


 Kaleb Roudabush

NSCA-CPT, Wellness Coordinator