Take one step at a time
Psychologist and life coach Honey Langcaster-James advises changing just one thing at a time. For example, it’s a bad idea to embark on a new eating plan and exercise regime, and redecorate the house all at the same time. ‘You’ll feel overwhelmed,’ warns Honey. ‘Get one new behaviour under your belt before you tackle the next one.’
Make mini changes
Breaking down your ultimate goal into bite-size pieces makes it much more manageable. So, if you’re hoping to lose 5st, work on losing 5lb first. You can take the same approach towards creating new healthy habits too. For example, if you want to increase your fruit and veg intake from 1-a-day to 5-a-day, start by introducing an extra serving of veg with dinner each night and go from there. Adopting these new healthy habits one by one will soon have a domino effect, so even a few small changes could stop a free-fall of bad habits.
Don’t ask too much of yourself
Here’s what to consider when trying to make a change: work with the person you are, not the person you’re not. For example, if you want to start cooking from scratch every evening but your husband refuses to eat low-fat foods, your daughter’s a vegetarian and you aren’t a natural organiser, don’t make it harder for yourself than it has to be! Rather than planning to make three different meals each evening to accommodate everyone, make small tweaks to one meal that everyone will be able to eat. Think bangers and mash with Heck chicken sausages for you, regular snags for your husband and veggie sausages for your daughter.
Mix things up
Want to improve your fitness level? Studies have shown that varying your workout routine could help you stay motivated to achieve your fitness goals.
‘Plan your gym workouts in advance,’ advises our fitness expert, Jennie Gadsby. ‘If you don’t, you’ll probably end up doing the same thing over and over, as we’re all creatures of habit – and that gets boring quickly.’ And, if you’re not a fan of the gym, you can still vary your workouts – try swimming one day, going for a long walk the next, then a yoga class for your third session.
Celebrate the actions as well as the results
Don’t wait until you’ve got to goal or run that 10k to celebrate your successes! Focus on all the great changes you are making everyday, and every time you achieve something or make a small change, reward yourself. Simple things such as reaching for water instead of your usual sugary drink are real achievements, so celebrate them!