How to build healthy habits and get motivated to exercise

With the dark cold nights closing in, a seemingly never-ending pandemic and challenges in most aspects of life, it is easy for your motivational levels to be low.

Monday, 23rd November 2020, 9:59 am
Our fitness guru gives you top tips on staying motivated.
Our fitness guru gives you top tips on staying motivated.

But there are some simple actions we can take to give our mind and body a boost rather than continue down a negative thinking cycle which will impact our mental and physical health.

Start by making small changes to your routine and setting achievable goals rather than overwhelm yourself with an ‘all or nothing’ approach which can prevent you from starting to exercise or cause you to over-train which isn’t sustainable.

Begin simple by “moving more.” When I am teaching dance and encouraging people to practice, for example, I use the approach of ‘habit stacking’ which works for motivating people to exercise too.Habit stacking is a form of ‘implementation intention’ where you identify daily micro habits you already have such as ‘boiling the kettle,’ or ‘brushing your teeth’ and then adding on a new habit to these. E.g. “Before or after I wash the dishes, I will do 20 star jumps.”Before/ after (current habit), I will (new habit). You can then gradually add to your new habits overtime in order to improve your exercise levels, eating healthier and feeling better in yourself which in turn will boost your motivation levels.A good way to implement your new healthy intentions is by jotting down your goals the night before then exercising shortly after you wake up. That way, not only are you helping to reduce your cortisol (stress) levels which are higher on a morning and give yourself a natural boost of endorphins (your happy hormones), but you are setting yourself up well for the day.

I get up earlier to allow time for this as my morning routine is to get up as soon as my alarm goes off, brush my teeth, drink a glass of water and then doing yoga or a short hiit workout before listening to a personal development podcast and getting ready for the day.

This not only helps me to manage my anxiety and chronic fatigue but it also boosts my productivity levels which keeps me more motivated to continue with my new habits throughout the day.

I add on to my micro goals each week with the help of an accountability buddy and my Squats and Sparkles - Women’s Health Club facebook group. I find that being accountable by sharing my S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals for the week ahead and reflecting on the following week, makes sure that if I do have a blip, that I am more motivated to stay on track because I have people I am answerable to.

When it comes to exercising or taking any positive control on life, especially when there are lots of events happening beyond our control, the main thing is to take action to improve your own health and wellbeing. In turn, these rituals will equal results and improve your motivation to continue feeling strong in mind, body and life.You can read more of my blogs at https://mamamei.co.uk and chat to me on social media @mamameiblog @thesparklecoach

LIFE HACK

Find an accountability buddy whether this be a personal trainer, a mindset coach or a reliable friend to keep you on track and motivated. Check in at the start of each week to reflect on last week’s goals and set your intentions for the week ahead. You can cheer each other on!

DID YOU KNOW?

A study in the British Journal of Health Psychology found that 91 per cent of people who planned their intention to exercise by writing down when and where they would exercise each week ended up following through. So online and outdoors, book in your exercise class or workout today.