Feeling like getting outside with the sunny days? Counsellor Kim discusses mini-habits to get fit!



dogwalkin  With the warmer sunnier days becoming more frequent as we move into May, more of us venture outside in the day time and will walk rather than use transport to our evening engagements.

And as we shrug off our winter layers and leave our coats at home we might realise that we are carrying a few extra pounds in weight than we might perhaps like!

A colleague of mine who works in the diet and fitness industry says her busiest start-up seasons for those wishing to embark on a fitness and healthy eating regime is the New Year or May/June to look beach ready on our holidays.

Healthy eating and activity are generally considered to be best seen as part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle rather than a short-term “fix”.  However, many of us will yo-yo between abstinence and activity and gratification and underactivity!

I am no gym bunny, however I am active with the dogs, be it walking every day or agility training and competing…and sure I could loose some weight.  My previous solution would be to start a diet and exercise flat out…which works but is not sustainable at that level (for me) in the longer-term.  So I am trying a different tack: mini-habits as suggested by Gretchin Rubin in her book,  “The Happiness Project”.

Our minds do not like change so this is a stealth-like approach to change which slips under the mind’s radar-cunning, eh?!

The idea is to break your challenge down into very small steps.  These tiny steps are so tiny and achievable that the mind will not find ways to procrastinate and avoid doing them!  Big steps often lead to feelings of overwhelm leading to avoidance and procrastination.

So, if your goal is to run in a 5k race and you don’t currently run, rather than setting the goal of running a mile in a day, set the mini-habit of running past 3 houses, or running for 30 seconds, or a minute.  If your goal is to eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day and you currently eat 1, add extra to one meal.  Slowly over time build up: run past 4 houses, or run for 2 minutes.  Add extra fruit/veg to a second meal.

These small mini-habits can lead in the long-term to sustainable habits.

So I am walking on my dog walk at a faster pace in a specific part of my dog walk in an attempt to overall increase my speed and get my heart pumping.  My overall aim is to walk faster all the way round, many mini-habits feeding into the large habit.

Good luck on your mini-habit adventure!