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Relapsed into your bad habits? | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis

Most people who try to build healthy lifestyle habits encounter a relapse — falling back into old habits or indulging in bad behaviour. Sometimes, despite your best intentions, situations out of your control can hinder your ability to stay on track. Whether it is illness, travel, work or family, there are countless life variables that can interfere with a fitness program. Relapse is normal. Even the most devoted fitness enthusiasts face challenges with healthy lifestyle adherence. Here’s how to keep at it, when you’re facing struggle in the process of creating lasting behavioural change:


Identify situations that led to the relapse

Step back and ask, ‘What happened?’ ‘What was going on in your life?’ ‘What circumstances led to your relapse?’ ‘Was there an unusual circumstance such as sickness or injury?’ Look objectively at what brought on the relapse. Determine the obstacles. Some common barriers often include vacation, work travel, lack of planning, new relationship or relationship difficulties, job stress, job loss or even a new job, time management and lack of motivation.


Find solutions and develop a plan

Develop a plan. Once you identify the situations or obstacles that get in your way, it’s time to develop a plan for how you’ll deal with them in the future. Make sure that your plan involves action — a way that you will change the situation, your thoughts and behaviours in response to the situation, or both. For example, in the past, you got out of your exercise routine when you travelled frequently for work. Now onwards, you will pack an exercise resistance band in your suitcase and do at least 20 minutes workout in your hotel room.


Take one small step at a time

Lifestyle change is a gradual evolution in thought process and action. The key to ensure success in the process is to change gradually and commit to changes you can sustain over the long-term. Taking the smallest step helps you reaffirm your commitment to yourself. 

Instead of focusing on everything together, take one small step at a time then focus on the next tiny step. Try to fully experience it, and see that in this moment, this small action is not difficult. 

When most people struggle to stick with a new habit, they say something like, ‘I just need more inspiration.’ Or, ‘I wish I had as much willpower as you do.’ This is the wrong approach. First, forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable than inspiration. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit is persistence in practice. Inspirations rely on extrinsic motivation, habits are automatic. They literally rewire our brains.

Solve this problem by picking a new habit that is easy enough that you don’t need inspiration to do it. Rather than starting with 5 km running per day, start with just 30 minutes walking per day. Make it easy enough that you can get it done without motivation.


Focus on the process, not the outcome

Stay focused on the process and not the results. While most people want to focus on weight loss, I suggest you to focus more on behaviour. After all, you have more control over your behaviour than your weight. Simply adhering to healthy habits each day is your goal. 


Be patient. Build momentum. Stick to a pace you can sustain

Learning to be patient is perhaps the most critical skill of all. You can make incredible progress if you are consistent and patient. Patience is everything. Do things you can sustain. Build momentum. For example, you have been exercising for 30 minutes every day this week. Next week you can do 45! And the week after, 60!


Always remember why you started

When you feel like quitting, remember why you started. Remember why you decided to get fit in the first place. These intentions are important to remember, to help yourself get back on track. You got derailed because you forgot your intention or other priorities became more important. Be clear on why you’re doing something. It’ll help you get back on track.

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