After returning from a busy and enjoyable holiday period, many of our clients will be looking to resume their health and fitness journey in 2023. Starting the year correctly with good momentum for your health and fitness is vital to ensure you set your year up correctly.
January and February is a time renewal; where you can get your year started correctly and (re-) establish optimal health behaviors for the year!
Many people have had time off over this holiday period, often with sub-optimal nutrition and exercise adherence. It can be tricky to get started again: however, with the right strategies and support you can ensure you start the year and achieve your optimal health and fitness!
In order to support you to get your year started; our Exercise Physiology team have outlined the Top 5 behaviour change strategies to get you moving again in 2023:
- Establish a support network
- Set some goals
- Plan a schedule
- Prepare for obstacles
Establish a support network
A strong a supportive network of family, friends and health professionals is key to getting you moving again after some time off. If you are finding it difficult to start again or are feeling de-motivated to begin the year, those close to you can provide support and remind you of the deeper reasons why you exercise, as well as be a sounding board for ideas of how to get moving again.
Set goals for 2023
Prior to resuming your exercise program, think of what you would like to achieve this year in the short, medium or long term. Your goals don’t necessarily have to be specific or detailed, but having an idea of what you are working towards this year can provide the initial burst of motivation you need to get started again.
Not having goals early on often results in feelings of de-motivation and can make it hard to re-establish your routine. Pick 1-2 things you would like to achieve this year, write them down and keep them somewhere you will notice them regularly (like the fridge door!). This way, they will stay fresh in your mind as you begin again for 2023.
Plan a schedule
Planning when, where and how you will do exercise is extremely useful for finding the time in a busy week to resume your routine. After the holidays, we often return to work with a lot on our plate including planning for the year ahead. This often means spending more time at work, and when added to family responsibilities can limit the time you have available.
Do the best you can to plan your exercise sessions ahead of time (e.g. Sunday night for the week ahead), including time of day, duration and location of session and what you will do (e.g. weight training, run). This helps in removing the decision making aspect of completing exercise, and increases the likelihood you will complete your sessions during the week.
Other useful strategies include packing your exercise clothes in a bag the night before and leaving them next to the front door, or scheduling exercise with someone from your support network to keep you accountable.
Prepare for obstacles
Despite the best intentions and planning, obstacles will appear along the way, making it more difficult for you to re-establish your exercise routine. Identifying likely obstacles and pre-empting strategies to overcome them is a useful way to deal with this problem.
For example, if you think you will be too tired to exercise after work, try to fit in a walk before work or during your lunch break. If you know you will be time poor, schedule a 15-20 minute session around your other commitments. If you plan well and implement these strategies, you will be able to deal with any obstacles or interruptions to your routine in the first few weeks.
Keeping track of your exercise is extremely important in achieving behavior change and establishing your routine. Research has consistently identified self-monitoring as the key factor in adherence to an exercise program.
There are several ways you can monitor your exercise sessions, such as a diary, spreadsheet, phone app or fitness watch. Keeping track of what you are doing can increase your motivation to push through the difficult first few weeks as you begin to see your progress with your exercise.
Finally, it is important to remember that one of the most important variables in improving your health and fitness is the consistency of your exercise. In the first few weeks after holidays, focus on developing a consistent routine rather than the duration or quality of your sessions.
Let go of the idea that every session needs to be perfect, often just showing up and doing something is what is most important. This could be a 10-15 minute walk every day, or 20 minutes of strength training twice a week for the first month. This mindset and the strategies outlined above will help you to re-stablish your routine early on, and increase the chances you will stick with your program long term.
To help you get started and implement these health strategies for 2023, call us on 9857 3007 or speak with one of our Exercise Physiology team today!