Healthy lifestyle momentum
Starting “getting healthy” is easy. The rush at the beginning of a detox, the new gym membership, buying the workout gear or kit: exciting!
With the vision of the slimmer, fitter, more toned version of ourselves, it’s easy to take action. And it feels good.
As many of us know, after a few weeks that rush of enthusiasm has waned and the Get Healthy practice we were so inspired by has become a chore and a grind. Gradually the “yoga every day” commitment becomes every other day, then twice a week until the mat just sits in the back of the car, and the juicer is a white elephant taking up space on the kitchen worktop, a continual reminder we have not kept our promise to ourselves.
So how do we beat this and make Getting Healthy a happy habit we actually keep?
1. Replace a bad habit with a good habit
It’s easier to stick at a healthy habit if you replace a bad habit with a good one. By substituting a more positive habit rather than just depriving yourself of something you like, you are more likely to keep the habit up. Stop having that glass of wine after work by driving home a different way and have a walk on the beach. Make the post-work walk the new habit.
Give up the Thursday takeout bingefest by instituting a healthy night each week where you take it in turns to cook a new healthy recipe (using the healthy dinner night recipe collection). Or break the habit of reaching for the cheese and crackers by making that the time you contact people you need to catch up with.
Creating positive healthy rituals that crowd out bad habits is much more successful than just trying to stop doing something you secretly actually get a lot of pleasure from.
2. Make it a happy habit not an effort of willpower
Willpower is a finite resource. Sooner or later it will run out. So if you are relying only on willpower to get you to the gym or turn on the juicer then eventually you are bound to fall off the wagon. Far better to focus on what naturally pulls you forward rather than what you have to force yourself to do. That means choosing exercise that you genuinely LOVE. Food that you actually ENJOY.
3. Find an accountability system that works for you
Accountability is great. Different strokes for different folks however, and one person’s inspiration is another individual’s nightmare. So do what works for you.
Maybe it’s committing to compete in a sports event. Maybe it’s joining a team challenge at the gym where your results are aggregated so you don’t want to let anyone else down. Maybe it’s getting colleagues to commit to a walk around the block at lunchtime three days a week. You are smart — figure out a structure that keeps you accountable and motivated.
4. Reconnect regularly with your WHY
Your “why” is your spiritual fuel that powers you towards your goal. Reconnecting with why you chose to commit to this Get Healthy journey at the beginning when will help you to stay on track when the going gets tough. Was it to feel good in your jeans? Or to have the energy to run around with your kids. Or to do a sub-4 hour marathon? Or to be peaceful and calm and sleep well?
Reconnect with why you started in the first place and ask yourself, what habit do I wish I had started a year ago? Drinking more water? Running? A yoga class? A daily green juice? Ask yourself what will you wish you had stuck at a year from now? Reconnect with your WHY and stay the course.
Start your healthy nights with this poached chicken with baby vegetables.
Through her online Happiness programme “Wellbeing Warriors”, life coach Louise Thompson helps people unlock their happiest and healthiest life. Sign up at louisethompson.com and find more from Louise at bite.co.nz/wellbeing