When you’re trying to make a change for the better – to be healthier – it can feel really hard. And that’s because you’re either trying to change an existing habit or start (and stick to) a new one. For me, I’ve found this especially so for getting fit, and I’m sure I’m not alone! So how do other people do it? We asked a group of people the following question.
What healthy habits have you successfully adopted? What did you do to be successful?
Here’s what they said...
“I have started walking a lot. I changed the way I think – walking is the way I get around now. It also helps that I have a newborn, so actually walking is a lot easier than packing up the car every time! I swim, which is helped massively by the fact that we get free swimming in our town. I have adopted a healthier diet, which is helped by the fact that my husband and I are doing it together – having somebody else help when your own motivation is low is vital.”
“When I started at my new job at the beginning of the year, I started walking up the stairs every morning - I'm on the 7th floor so it's always quite a challenge! I did it because with the change of job I'd be walking less so I needed something to replace it. I think having something to motivate you always helps and for me, I had a holiday to look forward to. Post-holiday, I try to motivate myself by remembering that I need exercise and I'll feel better long term for doing it.”
“I decided to walk from my house in London all the way to Berlin! Well, not really, but I set myself the goal of walking the equivalent distance in a year. I set a goal and tracked my daily walking – to the shops, to work or just a longer stroll – in the Runkeeper app (which has a facility to track walking via GPS). It kept me updated about how far I had gone, how much was left, number of calories burned etc. Having this target really helped me to stay motivated and I ended up walking virtually every day.”
“I have taken up running. Apart from the benefits, a big motivator is the app I have on my phone that keeps me informed of my speed and anticipated finish time as I go. It then records my progress over the weeks so I can see how I'm improving (or not!). There is always the incentive of getting a new PB (personal best!).”
“A big habit I successfully adopted was cycling to and from work - I bought a bike and started cycling. It saved me money on buses, but also I became healthier. Now I cycle everywhere – not just to work – I enjoy it as a leisure past time too.”
“I have decided to walk instead of use the car where it is practical to do so. I find it much more pleasant to spend a few minutes in the fresh air than the hassle of a car journey for a short distance.”
“I have a regular brisk walk of seven miles every Saturday. I walk to my local shopping centre and back home again. I enjoy perusing the stores, and this gives me extra incentive to walk.”
“I walk between three and five miles a day with my little dog, who loves the exercise and so do I. When I first started, it was a bit of a chore, but I really look forward to the two or three hours a day I walk.”
What’s their secret?
When it comes down to it, what will work for someone else might not work for you. But, it’s definitely worth hearing how other people achieve their fitness goals for a bit of inspiration. Some of the key things that seem to help include:
- having a goal, target or (holiday!) destination
- using technology like an app
- working towards a fitness goal with someone else
- using key changes in your life to start new habits
- reframing the idea of exercise, for example, doing exercise as a way to relax and nurture your mental wellbeing
- incorporating exercise into daily life such as the commute, or walking the dog
Are there any parts of your daily life or routine that you could shake up a bit to get some more exercise? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook.
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