Sunday, 29 November 2020

2. Changing habits to achieve Optimal Health

Changing Bad Habits for Good

Why is it so hard to make changes? The intentions are there, but the idea of giving something up or starting something new seems daunting and basically takes just too much effort. We really want to improve ourselves or stop bad habits ruining our way forward, but this seems to remove us from our comfort zone......and we believe we can be happier staying put! You will be pleased to know that this in fact natural human behaviour towards change. Even the most dedicated and focused athletes have to contemplate and plan for any changes made to their current programmes or regimes. There are five stages to successful behavioural change that we all have to go through before we can state we have achieved a complete habit change.


This stage is where there is no intention of change. We are unaware of any issues or problems that we need to deal with or change. Possibly, at this point we are in a state of denial


This is the stage where we are aware there is a problem or issue and intend to tackle it at some point but have not yet made any commitment to do so. This is where we have decided we need to lose weight or start an exercise programme or spend less time on social media but not quite willing to change our diet or book an exercise class or dedicate certain times of the day to switching off our tech. This stage is where you are at the moment if you have subscribed to this course. 

The Preparation Stage

This is the stage where we start gathering information and plan any changes we want to implement into our routine and the most important stage. If this stage is skipped, we are likely to regress to the previous stage. Behavioural change requires forethought and classification to succeed.


This is the stage where we implement the plans and information gathered in the preparation stage and start to modify our behavioural patterns. This requires a considerable amount of thought, time and energy to put into action


This is the stage where we have changed our behavioural patterns and work at continuing our reformed changes without relapse. For addictive behaviours this can be the hardest part of our journey and needs constant reviews.

Implementing Change

As you can see, behavioural change is not as easy as it first appears. Many bad habits that we have acquired over the years are hard to break. It takes these stages of accepting change, information gathering, planning, action and finally maintenance. 

The best way to tackle any major change is to make small changes and one step at a time. We have a tendency to undertake a big 'over haul' and this leads to possible failure. When making any plan you have to take all aspects of life into account. To achieve the "best version of yourself" you have to be realistic. You need to look at all your commitments and free time to make sure this plan will work alongside these external factors. It's no good for either your health or well being if you plan to go to the gym every day for at least an hour, if this means you compromise your hours of sleep to achieve this. Sometimes we focus on just one aspect of our health and neglect others for example trying to over exercise to compensate for a bad diet. I truly believe in the "one step at a time" approach to achieve a good plan and make it a success by addressing lots of the small areas of your daily life and make changes one day at a time.

I have a Healthy Habits PDF for you to download that will help you grasp the principles of implementing healthier habits into your daily routine, with very little effort. If you think about your own goals and what you want to achieve. For most of us it's a huge list and feels very daunting and almost an impossible task. However, remember the stages of successful behavioural change.

In this example the goals are not doable in a short space of time? They are all achievable. Some are more achievable than others and in a shorter space of time, but all of these goals must be accomplished by taking small steps to reach this bigger picture. The PDF below will help you to understand the steps needed to obtain these ultimate goals and how to implement them into your daily routine so that they become healthy habits. This is the journey from the preparation through to the maintenance stage.

  1. To walk 10,000 steps everyday

  2. To drink 1-2 litres of water a day

  3. To completely declutter my whole house

  4. To sleep restfully for 6-8 hours per night

  5. To have a happy life and enjoy every day.


To change our habitual behaviours we first have to accept we need to change, gather information and plan, take action and maintain these new healthy habits. This will help us achieve the 'bigger picture' and accomplish our own goals and personal growth. 


Thursday, 26 November 2020

Relax and Breathe


Mindful Breathing

One of the major goals of mindfulness is to silence the internal chatter that continues inside our heads all day and every day. Internal silence helps to nurture and restore our inner peace. Mindfulness helps to strengthen our focus to help smooth the pathway towards improved decision making skills.

Mindfulness breathing brings us back to the present moment. By focusing on the breath, the mind will remain focused on the action of breathing. The mind has a habit of jumping from one distraction to another. The discipline of breathing and focus will eventually calm the mind with practice. Mindful breathing is a good way to relax and an antidote to restlessness, anxiety and overthinking.

Putting aside a few minutes a day to practice mindful breathing, will give you clarity and the tools to deal with stress and anxiety. With practice it will help to bring you back to the present moment and focus on the task to hand, instead of the internal chatter that sends your mind into overdrive. 

In these times of uncertainty and fear, we need to think about mindful tools to keep us free from the distractions of cynical media and aggressive social platforms. Switching off and practising mindful breathing can decrease negative automatic thoughts that are prevalent in people that suffer with depression and anxiety.

Practising Mindful Breathing

By setting aside just 5 minutes a day, you will find that you will reap the benefits of mindful breathing. You will benefit both physically and mentally as well as feeling relaxed, happy and calm. There is no right or wrong way to do this........just practice daily. 

Mindful Breathing PDF 

Try the video below to help you focus on your breathing. By synchronising your own breathing to the shape and cues on the video, it will help you to breathe more deeply and in a rhythmical fashion. When we feel anxious, agitated or distressed the first thing that changes is our breathing. With practice, you will learn to control your breathing to reduce these emotions and begin to feel calmer. Mindful breathing will also decrease the physical feelings brought on by stress. 

Calm - Breathe Exercise


Simple deep breathing mindful techniques can bring an array of health benefits for mental and physical health. Deep breathing can reduce stress and anxiety by slowing down our breathing, reducing our heart rate and controlling our emotions and negative physical feelings. The calming benefits of this simple breathing technique for stress, anxiety and panic attacks takes just a few minutes a day. You will get the most benefit if you add this to your daily routine.

If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to comment below and subscribe to my website. There are many articles on health, fitness and nutrition. I also have a facebook page Healthy Forever Fitness Motivation with lots of information and a a very friendly and interactive private group Private Group ......please feel free to join.


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