Turning a health kick into a habit

There are plenty of people who know that they’re able to start exercise and start dieting, making the steps necessary to a healthier lifestyle. However, starting isn’t the problem. Keeping up with it is. Here, we’re going to look at what it takes to stop treating the building blocks of an active lifestyle as a “health kick”, something that’s temporary, and how to turn them into habits that become lifelong changes to your behaviours.

Be honest about your reasons

You don’t have to beat yourself up about it, but if you’re not being honest about your reasons for changing, it can be harder to find the motivation you need to actually get started. Whether you have issues with your self-esteem, body image, have serious health concerns, or simply want the energy and motivation you’re currently lacking, turn it into a personal fitness mantra. Write down your reasons and pin them up on the wall or on the bathroom mirror. Look at it and read it to yourself every day. Make it a promise to yourself and tell yourself you’re going to change. This is your way of holding yourself accountable and ensuring you know your motivation first thing.

Start small, start early

If you’re waking up with the intention of running a kilometre, completely changing your diet, and reading 100 pages of a book on your first day, you’re setting yourself up to fail. The bigger the accomplishment you expect at the start, the bigger the distance between you and that feeling of success. Start with smaller goals, suited to your current level of fitness and lifestyle. Smart training apps can make it easier to set fitness goals and exercise plans that scale with your progress over time. Similarly, eliminate one bad thing from your diet or add one good thing every day, whether it’s limiting your sugar intake or ensuring you get a certain amount of fruit and vegetables. Lay out your goals as soon as you wake up and start with a quick workout, even if it’s not all the workout you need for a day, so you immediately feel like you’re progressing towards the day’s goals. Making the first step of the day a correct one makes it easier to keep following up.

Give yourself something big to aim for

Your personal fitness mantra should serve as the emotional and motivational goal that you’re aiming for, but it’s wise to give yourself something more practical, too. Setting a goal such as running a marathon or benching a certain weight helps you outline the steps that help you get closer to that goal. Then you look at how to train for a marathon for the resources that help you build your progress towards that goal step-by-step. Make sure that your long-term practical goals and your fitness mantra have some overlap as well. Then, when you meet that practical goal, find another one, keep giving yourself momentum that ensures you don’t get complacent.

Create constant progress

When you have your goals set, you need to start tracking your progress towards those goals, as well. Keeping on top of your fitness is easier than ever before thanks to fitness apps that can measure all sorts of things. There are food tracking apps that can show you your macro intake (such as calories, fat, protein, etc.) and show you how everything you eat contributes to them. Similarly, fitness trackers show how many calories you’re burning and how much you’re doing per day. It makes it easier to see the real progress towards your goals, as well as helping you identify backslides into unhealthy habits that you can work out.

Recognise obstacles and stop them from getting in the way

Those backslides do happen, and it’s important to acknowledge them without letting them get you down. When you see an obstacle, look for ways to work around them. For instance, if you don’t have the time or budget to go to the gym, then you can create a home workout routine, instead. If you’re feeling too much discomfort on your run, you may need new shoes and running gear. Don’t accept excuses, find the solutions instead.

If you truly want to change yourself and start living a healthier lifestyle, it’s important to make a commitment. Know your motivations, set your goals, track your progress, and rely on systems that can help break the hurdles between you and the lifestyle you want. Do away with the notion of a health kick, entirely, and work on making long-term sustainable changes.

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