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How to make a habit that will benefit your health and fitness

When you hear the word habit your mind probably goes straight to bad ones like nail biting or smoking. However, according to the Cambridge English dictionary a habit is simply a noun that refers to a repeated action. The exact definition given is “Something that you do often and regularly, sometimes without knowing that you are doing it”.

Therefor this could apply to your daily life in a way that will benefit your health and fitness levels, like going for a run when you’re stressed instead of taking your mind off of it with tv, or snacking on fruit when you’re hungry rather than on sweets and crisps. Replacing bad habits with good ones can improve health and fitness without taking up any extra time and “without even knowing that you are doing it”. Imagine the effects this could have on your life! Having gotten this far I’m sure you’re dying to know just how this can become your reality. With that in mind, here are some steps that, if followed correctly, could send you well on your way to getting in better shape and improving your health and fitness with relative ease.

Set yourself some goals. There are a few different ideas as to how long it actually takes to make a habit, some say it’s as little as 21 days whereas others say it can take up to 6 weeks. The reality is, like most things, it’s different from person to person. One way of ensuring that you don’t falter before you’ve made your fitness habit stick is to set small regular goals over a long period, rather than one long term goal. This will help you to keep on track and you’ll be less likely to quit because the smaller the goal, the less daunting it is, even if you gradually increase it in small increments.

Treat yourself. Sometimes, motivation is hard to come by, especially when trying to achieve a goal or create a fitness habit. And although in your head you know that your healthy decisions will lead you to that summer body you want, your heart wants that slice of cake in the fridge and this conflict can often lead people to fall off the wagon and give up entirely. If only there was a way you could have both… Well, you can. If you set yourself a reward system for completing your goals then you’re more likely to stay on the right road. As long as you don’t give too much reward for too little work that is. You have to be careful when weighing up your rewards with your goal completion. This premise is used in many diet plans in the form of a ‘cheat day’, the idea being that if you stick to your healthy diet six days of the week then you can have one day where you eat what you want.

Accountability. A very powerful way to cement your habit is to do it with someone else. If you and a friend are both trying to go to the gym more then agree on a shared goal; for example going on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8pm. That way the motivation is not only to get in shape, it’s also to not let your friend down by not turning up. However, make sure to be careful who you choose. If you both have a tendency to be flaky about commitments then you’re unlikely to make it last very long thus your health habit won’t stick.

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