Endurance athlete and Australian AIA Vitality ambassador Sam Gash says consistency is key. “It’s important to strategize achievable ways of being consistent if you want a new habit to become a routine,” she explains. “Creating a routine from nothing is the hardest part.”
She also stresses the importance of making your goals achievable. Rather than setting yourself lofty goals around, say, exercise, start with bite-sized chunks that will work for you, like “I’m going to start with getting outside for 30 minutes each day”, rather than “I’m going to run 10kms a day, STARTING NOW!”. The important thing is to start establishing regular ways to physically move your body.
Health expert and Australian AIA Vitality ambassador Dr Jaime Lee has similar ideas. Keep little prompts around the house, like your running shoes near the door, to remind you to get out for a run. It’s about making your new habit as easy as possible.
“Don’t make the habit you want to develop too extreme either,” she advises, “Make it small, but do it consistently. If you’re a little gentler on yourself, the habit can be easier to set.”
It’s something that takes practice, and takes time, so start where you are. Go for a 10-minute run rather than setting a marathon distance. Start your day with a few minutes of gentle stretching, rather than committing to an expensive online yoga programme. Commit to having a green smoothie every day, rather than doing an immediate overhaul of your diet.
If you struggle with impulse control, Dr Jaime suggests removing the temptation. “Pick a day, and take the snacks out of the house, or delete the apps from your phone, or whatever you need to do.”
It’s also important, says Dr Jaime, to decide to build new habits “from a place of soul, rather than from a place of ego.” By this, she means that we’re much more likely to be successful over the long-term if we’re making changes for ourselves, rather than for anyone else, or any other external reason. “You might decide to exercise to look good to please your partner,” she says. “But if the relationship ends, what then? The control needs to come from you. Your internal motivators, and knowing that you’re doing it for yourself, really matter.”