Simple Ways to Make Active Habits Stick

Life is busy. How do you fit physical activity in when your day is already full? And how do you keep it going? Here are some simple and easy ways to create long-lasting and positive active habits with minimum effort, right now! Plus a few examples of those sneaky steps you didn’t even know you were doing.

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1. Start small

Every step counts means every step counts! Moving for 60 seconds will make a difference and is easy to commit to, right now. Begin with 60 seconds, then later, try moving for two minutes. Doing 60 seconds of activity can also be an opportunity to knock off a household task on your ‘to do’ list. So, you could take a little walk around the room purely for the joy of moving, or you could also head out to check the letterbox or take the rubbish out to the wheelie bin. Tick! Start right now and enjoy seeing your activity build with almost no effort.

2. Be kind

Yes, it has become a bit of a cliché nowadays but for good reason. People are often hardest on themselves so we’re here to tell you: It’s OK if you miss a day! Habits take time and persistence to become second nature however missing a day doesn’t mean you need to start again from scratch. You missed a day, it happened. You are human. Have a breather, then jump right back on board again tomorrow. Don’t wait until next week, month or year! Tomorrow is a new day. Or if you have a spare minute, why not head out right now?

3. Be thoughtful

Active habits are easiest to incorporate into your day and will last over the long term when your activities are fun, satisfying or efficient. Even if you only tick off one of these three items when you’re active you are making a great start. Two or more and you supercharge your way to making your active habits stick! And the bonus in taking this approach is that it often only requires small, thoughtful adjustments to what you are already doing every day.

How do you find the fun, satisfaction or efficiencies?

  • Start with fun and have a little think about what brings you joy. Is it spending time with your family? Playing with your dog? Heading to the beach? Now consider how you can turn those joyful experiences into active moments and BOOM, there’s the fun!
  • Satisfaction is easier to find than you may think as this one hides in plain sight, embedded in the activity itself and the way being active makes you feel. Every time you get moving you are working toward your step and activity goals. While the activity itself may be challenging sometimes, when you show up for yourself and add more movement to your day, those feelings of happiness and satisfaction will very quickly follow.
  • Finding the efficiencies is the art of being aware of the secret steps you already do and noticing other opportunities to increase them. For example, ticking off more of those ‘to do’ list items like going grocery shopping, taking the kids to school, or going out for your lunch break at work. Here you’re being efficient by getting some of those forgotten secret steps in while you do the everyday stuff. Win win!
You do things out of habit every day, no matter who you are or where you live. Creating and making active habits stick takes only a few steps. Keep it simple and start small. Be kind. Be thoughtful.
For more tips on developing habits, take a look at insights shared in this video by WIRED featuring Associate Professor Amanda Rebar from CQUniversity's Physical Activity Research Group.
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