Create New Habits and Make Them StickCreate New Habits and Make Them Stick https://ora.fitness/wp-content/themes/corpus/images/empty/thumbnail.jpg 150 150 Orla Orla https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/773bd6d50ad50423f54e7286a7ec3933?s=96&d=mm&r=g
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Exercising more and improving diet are two of the most popular resolutions people will make in January but the fact that this resolution is made over and over, each year, should be a sign that something is going wrong when it comes to our commitment to change.
So how can we set ourselves up for success, create new habits and make them stick?
Set Realistic Goals
If exercising more is one of your goals, be realistic about what is best for your body. We wouldn’t expect to be able to wake up one morning and run a marathon without any training – creating new exercise habits is no different.
Start with 3 sessions in week one and slowly build on the number of sessions over a number of weeks. This creates a gentle introduction to what will soon become habit. Your body will also benefit best from a combination of cardio, strength and flexibility style sessions.
If your goal is to eat a healthier diet then also build on this slowly. In week one you might cut out snacks after dinner. Week two you might focus on portion size. Week three you might aim to replace sugary snacks with healthier food options. Before long you will have overhauled your diet and be in a much healthier place. As you introduce each new goal, the previous one becomes habit.
Avoid Deprivation and Create Rewards
At this time of year we are bombarded with messages of “eat less, train more”. To completely overhaul your routine overnight and expect to be able to stick to it and actually be happy and feel successful is highly unlikely to work.
You don’t have to deprive yourself of the occasional treat and certainly not of rest days, in order to be healthy. Set yourself smaller, realistic goals and tackle them one or two at a time. Don’t worry if all doesn’t go to plan. Rather than looking at it as a fail, see it as an opportunity to tweak your routine in order to make it fit in better with your lifestyle.
By setting little rewards along the way you will re-train your brain and your small successes will become big wins. If your aim is to cut out snacking after 6pm, then reward yourself if you manage to stick to that for 7 days in a row. Your reward can be anything that you enjoy and makes you feel happy. Replacing the old habit with a new healthy one also works well – replace the 8pm chocolate biscuit with a cup of your favourite tea for example.
Make the Changes Stick
To avoid being in the same position this time next year, making the same resolutions all over again, try these simple tips…
- Set realistic goals and write them down.
- Tackle goals one at a time and put a timeline or start date on each one.
- Add in your short term rewards. Your long term reward will be a healthier you.
- Replace old habits with healthy new ones.
- Match up your new habits with current behaviours. For example, every day you have breakfast so schedule an exercise routine before breakfast. Every night the kids are in bed by 8pm so schedule a stretching session at 8pm.
- Know that new habits don’t stick instantly, they can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 2 months to become “normal” behaviour. But 12 months from now, think of how great you’ll feel if you stick to your goals.
- Ease into new physical workouts. Listen to your body and if you need a day off, take it!
- Track your success. That may be with a fitness tracker measuring steps, heart rate or activity. It may be how your clothes fit or the number you see on the scales. Or you may want to write down how you feel now and then update that weekly in terms of energy levels and mood. Use whatever works for you and helps motivate you.
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