Every change makes a difference
The days are definitely getting warmer now, and with Daylight Savings now started, the days are getting longer too. It’s a great time to take advantage of the season and get outdoors far more often. Indeed, it’s a time when a lot of people make the decision to start getting fitter and healthier, and I’ve been helping a lot of people set goals in this area recently.
There are several things that are important in setting goals for health and fitness, whether those goals are around food or exercise. One is to be specific. Often people express goals such as ‘getting fitter’ or ‘eating healthier’, but without more information it’s difficult to know exactly what this means. A more specific goal is helpful here, such as going walking 3 times a week for 30 minutes each time, or instead of eating biscuits or cake as snacks, eating nuts and seeds with yoghurt instead. This is much clearer and therefore much easier for us to do.
Once your goal is clear, the next thing to consider is how it’s going to work, and what needs to happen so that it can happen easily. For example, considering when your exercise will fit in well is important, as is deciding what you’ll need to set up in your environment so that you remember to do it at the time you plan. This may mean setting your alarm for a different time, having clothes and shoes ready to go at the right time, buying lights or reflective gear for your bike if you plan to go out in the dark, or moving dinner time forwards or backwards to suit. Where food is concerned, changes there usually start long before we actually eat. They often start with planning, and then buying the necessary foods at the supermarket beforehand. They may also require co-ordination with other people. All of these steps are necessary, as we can have the best of intentions, but without the environment being set up properly, these intentions can be forgotten or not acted on.
The other thing I really recommend when it comes to setting goals and creating new habits around health and fitness is to make one change at a time. Often people wish to do a complete overhaul of their eating and exercise habits, but that can end up overwhelming and result in no changes being made at all. The other danger associated with this is an ‘all or nothing’ mentality, which means that when someone slips up on one thing, they can end up throwing everything else away with it.
Every change helps, so choose one habit to change or establish, set it up well, make it part of your routine, and then decide on your next goal.