Our philosophy at PARC is to support our members long-term to live healthier and happier lifestyles. So often we start the year with enthusiasm and motivation to get healthy and exercise regularly, but by around March/April time it all starts to fade.
So where do you start? Firstly, decide exactly what ‘health’ means to you and what outcomes you want. Which is why this year we’re asking our community to commit to a Year of Health and rather than set unrealistic goals for quick fixes to your exercise regime, let’s build healthier habits and momentum for long-term success.
Sounds simple right? But often we struggle to implement new healthy habits as we start changing our routine too much. We are creatures of habit and our day is structured around a routine we’ve already formed. What’s interesting is that we’ve all been forced to challenge this routine over the last two years with the pandemic, so we know it is possible to change!
Here are five ways in which you can work to build healthier habits into your lifestyle:
- Take baby steps
Too often we make bold statements about how we are going to change our lives, but in order to form a long-term habit its best to take small steps forward. For example, with exercise start with trying to increase your incidental activity each day, by always choosing the stairs, parking further away from your destination, get off public transport a stop early etc.
When it comes to going to the gym or pool, rather than trying to commit yourself to a daily visit, we recommend starting with two to three sessions a week when you know it is easiest to fit into your routine and start to increase from there. You can book a PARC check-in appointment with one of our trainers to help build a program, stay on track and help reduce the chance of injury.
With food intake the best start you can make is not completely overhauling everything you eat, just start to bring in healthier choices. Eat at least 1 piece of fruit a day, start to make the vegetable portion on your plate, swap the evening sweet treat to a couple of squares of dark chocolate.
By slowly making changes you will find you keep up the new habits for much longer!
- Be organised
The best way to form a habit is to fit it into your routine with organisation. Planning is key, particularly when it comes to eating healthier. Planning your meals for the week ahead in advance is a great way to avoid slipping into convenience eating and grab and go food, which isn’t always the best.
When it comes to changing your exercise routine and incorporating going to the gym or pool, try and think of how to make it as easy as possible, such as packing your bag the night before. Remove any obstacles that you can foresee that would potentially stop you from going to the gym in advance so it’s more likely you will get there! Again, planning is key, you can check the group exercise classes that fit into your routine best in advance.
- Recognise your cues
Habits form based on the cues we currently experience, things like tiredness, hunger, wake up and evening routines. Our minds get comfortable with providing easy solutions to our cues, for example; ‘I’m tired, I need a sugary hit to wake me up’, or ‘I’m home from a busy day at work, I’ll just sit down and watch TV for a few hours’.
Once we become aware of our cues we can start to make changes and instil behaviour that builds healthier lifestyles. For example, ‘I’m tired, I’ll have a black coffee and a piece of fruit for a snack’ or ‘I’m home and will go for a stroll around the block with the dog to decompress my mind before I settle at home.’
- Incorporate your tribe
Like every change we want to make in life its easier with other people! If your new habits can also involve others you’re all more likely to stick with them. So, get your friends, family or work mates involved in taking steps towards a healthier lifestyle with you.
Keep each other accountable with new routines you can both follow together, such as a lunch time meditation at work or choosing a Group Exercise class you both love and can attend every week. Book in advance with the MyPARC app or online to keep you both accountable to attend. Making it social helps!
- Reward yourself
Finally, rewarding yourself for making small changes is so important as it gives us a focal point for continuing. Think about treating yourself with non-food rewards. Schedule some time out to indulge in your favourite magazine, get a massage or book a pamper session, buy that gadget or outfit you’ve been holding off on. Whilst reward is good motivation remember you’re building momentum, once you’ve taken the reward for forming a certain habit, think about how you build upon this for further improvement.
We’d love to hear about the simple habits you’ve chosen to change this year and how its going.
Take the pledge today to Make 2022 Your Year of Health and tell us what habits you want to commit to and here at PARC we’ll help you get there!
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