Have you ever tried to start or add to an exercise routine only to have it fall apart after two weeks? Maybe you haven’t tried because you don’t think it is realistic to exercise as much as some experts say you should. Research shows that any increase in physical activity can have a significant impact on your health – and individuals who are not currently active benefit the most from even small increases in physical activity. Whether you have the time to join a gym or just 10-minutes a day, make sure you take the time to complete these three steps to make your change last.
Recognize the need. Behavior change models in human psychology suggest that long-term behavior change starts with recognizing your need for change. So, if you’re reading this article and know you need to become more active, you’ve already achieved the first step!
Understand your motivation. Once you recognize that you want to change your habits, ask yourself why. Try to boil down your motivation into clear, simple statements and write them down somewhere you will see them regularly – the bathroom mirror, your desktop screensaver, your phone lock screen, etc.
Commit. Once you’re clear about why you want to change it’s time to make it happen. Write down a one to two sentence statement in actionable steps that outlines your commitment to change. When your commitment to change is written down, you are more likely to believe that you can do it. Then tell someone about your commitment – preferably someone who is supportive of your change and who will encourage you throughout the process. Changing your lifestyle is not easy, and part of the process of change does include slipping back into old behavior patterns. Relapse isn’t failure – it’s a part of the process. The faster you get back to your commitment, the faster the behavior change will become your normal life.
These three steps are just the beginning. Learn more about how Wellness Workdays helps employees develop healthy lifestyle changes by downloading our brochure.
Written by: Brandon Zuercher, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern.