Tips on Creating the ‘Fitness Habit’

When it comes to losing weight and getting fit, most people try to rely on willpower instead of developing a strategy for changing habits. While willpower and motivation can get you through the first week or two, they won’t last for long.

Instead of creating a list of resolutions, create a new fitness habit.  You should be focused on long-term results, and more importantly, on a healthy lifestyle.

Warning: changing habits takes time. You should take on one habit at a time and give yourself about a month per habit. For example, if you change one habit per month, you will have 12 new habits every year. Even if you only form six habits that stick and that you love, you would be amazed at what kind of changes those six habits will create in your life.

Here are some habits you can start with:

  • Exercise 5 minutes a day, adding 5 minutes per week. Make it a fun exercise.
  • Drink water instead of sweet drinks.
  • Eat fruit and nuts for snacks.
  • Replace fried foods with vegetables.
  • Add strength exercises to your routine – for example: push-ups, squats, lunges.

With the right strategy, you can make habit changes a success. There is no perfect formula, but the principles below will help with your success:

  • Do one habit at a time only. You increase your odds of success with just one habit at a time. Habits are hard to form because they require lots of focus and energy; having many habits means you are spreading yourself to thin.
  • Make it your top priority. People often put off fitness and diet because they are too busy, too tired, or stressed out by big projects. So make your new exercise or diet habit one of your absolute top priorities of the day.
  • Enjoy the habit. If the habit is fun, you will stick with it longer. Choose activities that you enjoy, join a challenge or a race to make exercise fun. Eat healthy foods that are delicious and focus on savoring those foods.
  • Make it social. Find a workout partner, join a running group, join a class.  Report on your daily progress to friends and family through Facebook, Twitter or email.

So enjoy the habit change and don’t worry what the outcome of the activity is.  The outcome matters very little, if you enjoy the journey.

About the Author
Georgelena Saborio is an exercise physiologist and supervisor for Employee Fitness at Baptist Health South Florida.

Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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