How to Start (and Stick with) A New Habit!

Today is the first day of summer, which means it’s the prime time to start a new habit! If you are planning to start a new habit or physical activity, here are some tips from the dietitians at Banister Nutrition to keep in mind:

From Lauren:
1. Find something you enjoy – you are more likely to stick to something and look forward to something you enjoy (rather than dread).
2. Find a partner – this can help with making it more enjoyable, make the time fly by and help with accountability.

From Cassie:
1. Viewing exercise as an “opportunity” rather than a “requirement”. Making sure it feels GOOD and is FUN! — forcing yourself to do something you dread will never be sustainable.
2. Reconnect with your “inner child” to move your body. Everyone likes to do things they are good at and feel confident in. Example: if you were a ballet dancer through younger years, maybe something similar style like barre or yoga would be a good idea.

From Autumn:
1. Consider writing out your activity or nutrition goals using the SMART framework to make sure setting yourself up for success
2. Explore known barriers and consider coming up with plan B (ex: if regular routine is outside or using specific equipment – plan ahead for routine that can be done when bad weather hits or having to travel and equipment not available)

From Carol:
1. Consider playing as moving, sweating and laughing – allow yourself the freedom to engage in physical play more frequently. If we engaged in physical play more often with family members and friends we would label it as fun creating a desire to engage in this fun activity again.
2. Schedule your time to be physically active as you would any appointment and keep your appointment. Do not allow yourself to start a yes/no mental debate as to whether you will or won’t follow through. Whenever you start a yes/no mental debate it is only to talk yourself out of participating in the physical activity.
3. Focus on the feelings of accomplishment, empowerment, once you have finished your physical activity.
4. Start with small increments of time opposed to thinking you must max out the first week. Consider 15 min, 3x/wk and increase this weekly vs thinking you “should” engage in an hour 5x/wk or it won’t do any good.