Make change happen

Exercise for healthy life
Exercise for healthy life

You know that eating a balanced diet, taking exercise and dropping bad habits are vital for your heart. But no matter how good your intentions are, it’s often easier said than done. 

There are some things that you can do that may help you change old habits: 1

1 Set goals

Set goals, but make them achievable and specific. It’s hard to stick to something as general as: ‘I’ll eat more healthily.’ Instead, try: ‘I’ll have at least two portions of veg with every meal. Rather than just deciding to exercise more, set a goal to walk for half an hour after breakfast every day – or whatever your cardiac nurse or doctor advises.

2 Get support

Making others aware of your goals increases the likelihood that you’ll stick to them, so tell supportive friends and family what you’re planning to do and ask for their support.

3 Monitor your progress

 Keeping a record of how you’re doing will remind you that you’re making changes however small. We also get motivation from reflecting on the good feelings that come from lifestyle changes. Why not keep a daily journal where, at the end of every day, you record three healthy things you’ve done and how they made you feel? Just looking back at them will provide extra motivation and give you a boost whenever you feel you’re flagging.

4 Reward yourself 

Looking forward to a treat helps, but it shouldn’t be an excuse to slip back into unhealthy ways. Instead, list things you enjoy as treats and link them to healthier behaviours. So if you love a particular magazine, promise yourself a subscription when you reach a significant goal. Even simple things, like putting off the next cup of tea until after you’ve done your exercise, can be an effective strategy. 

FIND OUT MORE:

Find out more inspiration for making lifestyle changes here.

  1All tips: Permission to Publish, Clare Moloney, Health psychology specialist, Atalantis Healthcare.