Tips – Keeping good habits going
Everything's working beautifully. You're feeling good about the changes you've made and then you take a holiday, you have to travel for work, the kids' footy practice schedule changes - it's easy for something to throw your routine out of kilter. Here are some ways to help keep your new habits on track.
One day at a time
It’s that simple. While it’s important to keep your long-term goals in mind, try not to let them overwhelm you. Instead, think about what you have to do today to stick with your new eating or exercise habits.
After all, if you’ve never exercised, it’s unlikely you’ll just get up one day and decide to run a marathon. You start walking every day, then a mix of walking and running until it’s all running. Then you’re ready to train for the marathon. By making the right choices each day, you’ll gradually build up a new habit you don’t even have to think about. If you fall off the wagon, don’t be hard on yourself. Just get right back on it!
Make it non-negotiable with yourself and, while you’re at it, let everyone know. Whether it’s giving up fried food, or exercising 5 days a week, let everyone know. They’ll be right behind you and that’s great motivation. Plus, they’ll hold you to it.
Set up rewards
Reward yourself at the end of each week when you’ve managed to stick with your new daily habits.
Don’t waste good energy feeling bad about a slip-up. Look to the next day to do better. If you do slip up, think about how you were feeling at the time or why you did, so you begin to recognise the triggers and be ready for them next time.
Make your goals measurable and specific. Instead of aiming to exercise four days a week, break this down. Maybe set a goal to walk two days a week and go to the gym two days a week for 30 minutes each time. Once you’ve decided on your goals, write them down and stick to them! Another way to help you commit to your new goals is to plan ahead. So, for example, if you’re planning to work out for half an hour each day, put this time in your diary. Then you can organise your work, social and family life around that blocked out time. Be firm about it and you’ll be well on your way to forming a habit!
If you can’t commit to yourself, commit to someone else
For extra motivation, get someone else involved. It may be a friend, your partner, whoever it is, you’re less likely to let them down than you are to let yourself down.
If you’re having trouble finding a workout buddy, consider getting a personal trainer. They still charge you, whether you turn up or not. Besides, you may find the individualised attention is just what you need to motivate yourself. Or, you could join a group, you’ll not only meet new people, you can also support each other.