Over the past few decades, research on health and fitness has continuously highlighted the countless benefits of regular exercise, and since then, numerous individuals and professionals have been using the “move more, eat less” recommendation. Unfortunately, while doing your best to motivate or help people, using this approach does not always work. If only it were this easy…
Some individuals may take the recommendations seriously and start exercising for a few weeks, to suddenly see themselves stop and return to old habits. A few will progressively make improvements while the vast majority won’t know where to begin, or where to focus their energy. The lack of support, our environment/resources and professional help all count as major challenges in sustaining an active lifestyle.
Here are a few steps to help you navigate towards having an active lifestyle.
1. Focus on one habit at a time
What are your goals? Take a few minutes to reflect on why you’ve been told you should improve your health or why you would benefit from a change in your lifestyle.
· What is your current lifestyle like?
· What is one new habit you could include in your life?
2. Plan your day/week
While it’s great to have long-term goals, daily and weekly planning will help you make progressive improvements.
· Where are you going to exercise?
· When will you be adding movement throughout your day?
· What type of snacks do you have for the day?
3. Track your progress
How do you know if you’re improving? Which tools will you use to help you stay on track? While some might use body composition, it isn’t always necessary. You can track the days you included exercise, you can track your daily steps on your phone, you can track your eating habits, and you can also track your energy levels throughout the day. Whichever tool you decide to use, make sure you’re keeping track every week or second week.
4. Make everyday a new day
Focusing on your end result might be beneficial as you start to modify your lifestyle, however, as the weeks go by it’s easier to step off track. A great tool is to focus on the process and the individual habit change throughout your day. Give yourself small daily objectives; they quickly add up helping you get closer to your ideal lifestyle.
Make a plan, focus on daily improvements and stay consistent. Even if you would love to see changes happen immediately, focus on finding a lifestyle you enjoy, one you can maintain, making the process a lot easier for lasting changes!
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