Lorn Healthy Options weekly health tip – October 7

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Quick Recovery when our good habits break down

No matter who you are and how highly motivated you are to stay active and healthy it’s inevitable that at some point life will throw you a curve ball and get in the way.

Family responsibilities, work commitments, sickness or one of life’s other emergencies can prevent us sticking to our hard won routine. Perfection is not realistic or possible.

One way and perhaps the best way to tackle these setbacks is never miss twice. Missing once happens but do your utmost not to allow two in a row. If you miss your morning walk, make sure everything is in place to get back on track tomorrow. If you have a pizza and a few beers for dinner, make sure tomorrow’s breakfast is a healthy option.

You can’t be perfect, but you can avoid a second lapse. Remember a great way to track your progress is to mark down the days you carry out your desired behaviour on a calendar and form a chain of visual cues that point to your progress. Once one chain finishes, make sure the next one starts as soon as possible. The first lapse is not the one that ruins you. Allowing a second, third and fourth can easily lead to a spiral of repeated mistakes and the forming of a new bad habit. The breaking of your good habit matters little if the reclaiming of it is fast.

We also shouldn’t stress if for some reason we can’t carry out our habits to the same level every day. Try to avoid the ‘all or nothing’ approach to behaviour change as showing up on challenging days and completing an under-par session is extremely valuable.

Obviously, I’m not suggesting that you train through significant pain or a bad infection/virus, but many miss their activity sessions on a day when they are not quite feeling their normal levels of enthusiasm or energy for the task at hand. Don’t put up a zero if it can be avoided, a short session may not improve your performance, but it re-affirms your new identity as someone who doesn’t miss planned activity sessions.

Lost days will hurt you more than successful ones help you. It doesn’t matter how slowly we move forward as long our direction of travel is towards our destination.

For the full message go to the free resource section on the lornhealthyoptions.co.uk website.

Rob Graham, Lead Exercise Professional, Healthy Options.