The Secret to Lasting Changes in Your Health: A Guide for Women Over 50
As we age, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle becomes increasingly important for overall well-being. But, forming new healthy habits can be a challenge, especially when we try to make too many changes too quickly. Learn how to make lasting changes in your health.
Achieving your fitness goals is never an easy process, but when you’re a woman over 50, it can be downright scary!
It can also require a lot of determination, discipline, and motivation.
Making your fitness journey simple and pleasurable can make all the difference.
By breaking down your goals into small, manageable pieces and tying them to something you already enjoy doing, you can make your healthy habits feel less like a chore and more like a reward.
The Importance of Simple and Pleasurable Habits
The biggest problem with most new healthy habit plans, is trying to do too much, too soon. This, my friend, is a recipe for disaster.
It’s brutally essential to make anything new both easy and accessible.
For instance, trying to run three miles every day when you haven’t exercised in years is not going to cut it.
Breaking your goals into smaller, manageable pieces is the first step towards making them simple and attainable. This is how you’ll see lasting changes in your health.
For example, tying new habits to something you already enjoy doing is crucial in making them pleasurable. If you associate the new behavior with something positive, your motivation will increase and make it easier to stick with it.
As you crest the over-50 mountain, maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle becomes increasingly important for your physical and mental well-being.
But starting a new fitness habit can be challenging, especially when changes up your routine a lot. I’m telling you, your brain hates change!
But what if you could make the process of starting a new fitness habit easier and more fun?
The good news is, with a few simple strategies, you can make a new fitness habit stick, even when you don’t feel like it.
In this post, we’ll explore how to make a new fitness habit easy and enjoyable, so that it becomes an enjoyable part of your daily routine, and leads to those lasting health changes.
We’ll go over how to:
- Make the new habits accessible
- Make new activities fun and enjoyable
- Celebrate the small victories
- Reflect and refine regularly
Ready? Let’s jump in!
1. Make Your New Habit Accessible
The first step in making a new fitness habit stick is to make it accessible. Don’t skip this part, because it sets the foundation for success.
Making your fitness routine accessible means choosing an activity that you genuinely enjoy and that will fit seamlessly into your daily routine.
The idea is to make it as easy and convenient as possible so you don’t struggle to fit it into your schedule.
For example, if you love being outdoors, try taking a walk in the park or around your neighborhood every day before or after dinner.
This way, you’ll not only get some fresh air and exercise, but also get a chance to unwind and destress after a long day.
Love yoga? How about starting (or ending) your day with a 10-minute yoga session? This way, you can start or end your day feeling calm, refreshed, and energized.
Haven’t dipped your toe in the yoga world yet? I know a GREAT place to start: Yoga With Adriene on Youtube. She has yoga sessions from very short to quite long, and they run the gamut from beginner and gentle, to more strenuous (and difficult if you’re a clutz like me) and advanced.
Breaking this step down further, start by making a list of activities that you enjoy and that you can see yourself doing regularly.
Then, think about your daily routine and schedule, and choose an activity that fits in well. Be realistic and choose something that you can consistently do, so you don’t get discouraged.
Here are some ideas for reflection that you can write in your journal:
- What activities do I enjoy that I can incorporate into my daily routine as a new fitness habit?
- What are some realistic steps I can take to make this activity accessible and convenient for me?
- How does this new fitness habit fit into my overall goals for my health and well-being?
- What are some potential obstacles I may face in making this a consistent habit, and how can I overcome them?
- How do I feel after consistently incorporating this activity into my daily routine?
- What are some positive changes I have noticed in my physical and mental health since starting this new fitness habit?
- What can I do to stay motivated and continue incorporating this activity into my daily routine?
Reflecting on these questions can help you stay on track and make your new fitness habit a sustainable and enjoyable part of your life.
Remember, the key is to choose an activity that you enjoy and that fits into your daily routine. This way, you’ll be more likely to stick to your new habit and make real, lasting changes to your health.
Need a great way to begin a new exercise habit?
2. Make The Activity Fun
Making exercise a fun activity can be a game changer when it comes to sticking to your fitness habit. When you enjoy your workout, it’s much easier to look forward to it and make it a consistent part of your routine.
There are tons ways to make exercise enjoyable, and the key is to find what works best for you.
Could you join a fitness class with a friend? Having a workout buddy can make exercise more fun and give you accountability and motivation.
Or, try a new workout like dance, cycling, or swimming. These new activities can add some excitement to your routine and keep you motivated.
Another way to make exercise more enjoyable is by incorporating your other interests into your workout. Enjoy listening to music? Create a playlist of your favorite tunes to listen to while you exercise.
Or, if you’re an avid reader like me, listen to an audio book while you work out. You can even watch your favorite show on the treadmill or stationary bike.
Get the free Libby app where you can borrow ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and more from your local library for free!
Now, break this step down further. Start by making a list of activities and things you enjoy, and then think about how you can incorporate those into your workout.
Experiment with different ways to make exercise more enjoyable and find what works best for you.
Incorporating the new activity in progressively longer intervals to make the habit more likely to stick:
- Start with a small interval: Begin by incorporating the new activity for just 5-10 minutes a day. Gradually increase the interval as you become more comfortable with it.
- Add 5 minutes every week: Once you’ve been doing the activity for a week, add an additional 5 minutes to your workout. Keep adding 5 minutes every week until you reach your desired workout length.
- Double your interval every two weeks: Another option is to double your workout interval every two weeks. So, for example, if you start with a 10-minute workout, you would do 20 minutes the next week, 40 minutes the week after that, and so on.
- Set achievable goals: Set achievable goals for yourself and gradually increase the interval as you reach each goal. For example, set a goal to do a 20-minute workout 3 times a week. Then increase the interval to 30 minutes once you’ve achieved that goal.
Here are some reflection questions for a daily journal entry:
- How did I feel before, during, and after my workout today?
- Did I encounter any obstacles or challenges in my workout today? If so, how did I overcome them?
- What did I enjoy about my workout today?
- How has my physical and mental health improved since incorporating this new activity into my routine?
- What steps can I take to make my workout even more enjoyable and enjoyable tomorrow?
- How can I continue to progress and increase my workout interval in a sustainable way?
Reflecting on these questions can help you stay motivated, track your progress, and make your new fitness habit a sustainable part of your life.
Making exercise a fun activity is a crucial step in making a new fitness habit stick. Find a way to incorporate your interests and have fun with it, and you’ll be more likely to look forward to your workout and stick to your fitness goals.
3. Celebrate Small Victories
Celebrating small victories is a key component to sticking with new habits. It helps you focus on the positive and reinforces the effort you’ve put in.
This can also help build momentum, as you see the progress you’re making. Here are a few examples of small victories to celebrate:
- If you’ve been doing yoga for a month, treat yourself to a new yoga mat or some props to make your practice even more enjoyable.
- If you’ve been going to the gym regularly for three months, reward yourself with a new workout outfit or some new headphones to up your motivation.
I have a friend who wanted to start a running habit. She found it really hard at first, but every time she reached a new milestone, like running for five minutes straight or covering a longer distance, she would treat herself to a small reward.
Something like a new piece of running gear or a healthy smoothie. This helped her stay motivated and build a running habit that really has made lasting changes to her health.
To break down the process of celebrating small victories even further, I recommend setting specific, measurable goals that align with your overall habit.
For example, if your goal is to run three times a week, your small victories might be running for a full 30 minutes or covering a distance of three miles.
In the beginning, of course, that 30 minutes may need to be broken down even further, perhaps to 5 minutes of fast walking ➡️ 5 minutes of light jogging ➡️ 5 minutes of moderate jogging, and so forth.
Make sure the reward you choose is something you’re excited about and will actually enjoy. This way, each time you reach a small victory, you’ll have something to look forward to and your motivation will stay high.
Here are some reflection questions for a daily journal entry:
- What small victories did I celebrate today?
- How did celebrating my small victories help me focus on the positive?
- What goal did I set for myself today and how did I measure my progress towards that goal?
- What reward did I give myself for reaching a small victory today and how did it make me feel?
- How does setting specific, measurable goals and rewarding myself help me stay motivated and build positive habits?
- How can I incorporate celebrating small victories into my daily routine to stay on track with my goals?
- How did I acknowledge and appreciate my own effort and hard work today?
4. Reflect Regularly
Finally, reflecting on your progress regularly can help you stay focused and motivated. Ask yourself questions like, “How do I feel after I exercise?” “What benefits have I noticed since starting my new fitness habit?”
By reflecting on your progress regularly, you can stay focused and motivated, and stay on track with your new fitness habit.
Use the prompts under the sections above as a starting point for your daily reflection questions.
In addition, below are some positive affirmations you can incorporate daily. Write them on cards, put them on your computer desktop or use them as wallpaper on your phone.
Try to write them down several times a day, and repeat them to yourself, or out load daily as well. In this way, you will eventually lay down new neural pathways and your smart little brain will begin to believe these things.
And when you truly believe you can change, and that you are strong and capable, there’s absolutely no stopping you!
Positive Affirmation Examples:
- “I am capable of making positive changes in my health and fitness.”
- “I am strong and capable of pushing myself towards a healthier lifestyle.”
- “I am worth investing time and effort into my fitness journey.”
- “I am in control of my habits and choices, and I choose to make healthy ones.”
- “I believe in myself and my ability to stick to my fitness goals.”
- “Every day, I am becoming more confident and proud of my fitness progress.”
- “I am grateful for my body and the opportunity to improve my health and well-being.”
- “I am committed to making fitness a regular part of my life.”
- “I am proud of myself for taking small steps towards a healthier lifestyle.”
- “I am deserving of a fit and healthy life, and I am taking the steps to make it a reality.”
Ready To Start Your New Healthy Habit?
Get started with your new habit today!
Starting a new fitness habit can be challenging, but with the right strategies, it can also be easy and enjoyable. By making them accessible and fun, celebrating small victories, and reflecting regularly, you can make your new health & fitness habits stick and become a part of your daily routine.
Remember, it’s never too late to start, and with dedication and commitment, you can achieve your fitness goals and live a healthy and active life.
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