From healthy resolutions to healthy habits
The new year is a perfect time to reflect on your habits and click that refresh button to start anew. Retiremeant™ doesn’t mean slowing down; instead, it’s a fresh start to live your second chapter to the fullest, and your health and vitality lie at the very centre of your being.
Resolutions are tricky. You may have the determination to become fitter and healthier but find it difficult to make big changes all at once. A fitness routine that works for others may not be a perfect fit for you. So, instead of making health a resolution, why not start by adopting new health habits that inspire you?
My health goal is to run a 10km race in April this year. It’s a big goal with a firm deadline! Luckily, I love running, so a daily run isn’t a chore for me. The difficult part is sticking with my habit.
To keep me motivated, I chose an accountability partner: a virtual running coach combined with my trusty Apple watch. My running coach supports me via email, sending me a daily fitness programme based on my progress, and, in turn, I send it the training data direct from my Apple watch. It’s quite remarkable if you know how to use it – it tracks your run, speed, heart rate and even the number of calories burnt.
I love the Apple watch slogan – Find what moves you. With health goals, it’s important to find something you enjoy doing. It may not be running; it could be walking, dancing, yoga or cycling. Then add a drop of motivation. Why not find your own accountability partner? Perhaps someone who enjoys the same activities you do? Or who belongs to the same club? Your accountability partner is someone who inspires you to stick to your health habit and joins you in this journey.
Creating and sticking to new habits can be challenging, but you simply have to put in the work to get results. It helps to have a positive emotional response to the activity – it must feel good and make you excited to do more. So, make your health habits easy, make them fun and make sure you celebrate your successes along the way.
Although the 10km run is my end goal, I am delighted every day as my Apple watch delivers my progress reports. James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, recommends having a habit tracker. In my case, it’s my watch, but you could, for example, cross off your calendar every day you stick to your health habit. It’s a visual reminder of your progress and extraordinary satisfying to record your success as you go.
And should you ever wake up in the morning, wondering if you could just skip your health habits for one day, infuse yourself with some inspiration and reflect on the words of fitness guru, Marsha Doble: I have to exercise in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.”