Strategies to adopt a healthy lifestyle

 Strategies to adopt a healthy lifestyle


It's hard to let go of old habits and adopt new ones. A sedentary lifestyle, tobacco and "junk food" are often part of a routine and difficult to change. How to succeed in adopting healthy lifestyle habits? What strategies should be put in place to avoid repetition?



First, it is necessary to start gradually. The key to success is not to change everything overnight. Most people make decisions for better life habits, but quickly fall back into their old routine because these changes dramatically overnight and fail to sustain the change in the long term. In order to counteract the effect of recidivism, the change must be gradually incorporated into daily life, this allows the


 change to be quietly incorporated, avoiding being drastic, and it will be easier to make it last over time. For example, if we do physical activity for someone who has not been active before, we want to avoid starting with a prescription of five training sessions per week, with an hour and a half per session. This change will almost certainly be doomed. We recommend adding 3 30-minute sessions of moderate intensity activity to your routine to start with, and increasing it over time (Marcus, BH and Forsyth, LH 2003). Furthermore, it is recommended to set SMART goals to track progress (Doran, GT 1981). SMART Goal suggests creating a clear goal that is guided by 5 aspects:


S - specific; Describes the task or habit that the person will have to adopt.

• m - measurable. which can be easily measured, often in terms of minutes or number of times.

• A - Attractive or achievable. that arouse interest and desire.

• R - realistic. Which seems real and possible according to the daily life of the individual.

• T - temporary. It is time bound which will set a due date.



Next, one must make sure to find an internal motivation to bring about change. There are several types of motivation, including two large groups: intrinsic and extrinsic motivation (Brunelle, JP, and Brunelle, J. 2012). An extrinsic motive represents the motive that comes from outside, for example, a child who asks his parents to stop smoking or a doctor who asks his patient to reduce his consumption of foods rich in saturated fats. Motivation comes from a place other than the self, the person realizes


 that change is important, but does not consider it a priority. On the contrary, for intrinsic motivation, it comes from yourself. This is the type of motivation we are looking for, because it is the one that will promote the most maintenance because the person will not need as much outside help and will be less at risk of cheating on their target. The desire for success will come from within her and she will make more effort to achieve her goal.


In another context, before embarking on change, we must ask ourselves if we are ready to modify our behavior. Indeed, during the process of behavior modification, we go through different stages, in order or not (Prochaska, J.O., and DiClemente, CC 1982). First, the pre-contemplation stage represents the stage in which we have no real intention to change our behavior, there is no real motivation and we can also fear failure or relapse after previous experiences. At this point, we shouldn't force ourselves to do


 anything. Second, when one shows signs of interest in change, but in the distant future, one finds oneself in a stage of contemplation. Again, if we seem contradictory, it is not recommended to start the change right away. On the other hand, it can be interesting to continue to pay attention to the topic and weigh the pros and cons until we are finally ready to change. Finally, when some changes have already been made, such as adjusting the schedule or buying running shoes, for example, this can be defined as the preparation phase. At this point, we are generally ready both physically and mentally to start


 changing. It will be important to interrogate and note these indicators in order to start the process in time to avoid failure. We are really ready for change. Finally, when some changes have already been made, such as adjusting the schedule or buying running shoes, for example, this can be defined as the preparation phase. At this point, we are generally ready both physically and mentally to start changing. It will be important to interrogate and note these indicators in order to start the process in time to avoid


 failure. We are really ready for change. Finally, when some changes have already been made, such as adjusting the schedule or buying running shoes, for example, this can be defined as the preparation phase. At this point, we are generally ready both physically and mentally to start changing. It will be important to interrogate and note these indicators in order to start the process in time to avoid failure.


On top of that, when you finally start to change your behavior, you have to plan for a relapse, that's totally normal! On average, a person will relapse four to seven times before they can always make the change (Prochaska, JO, and DiClemente, CC 1982). Instead of getting frustrated, it will be important to find ways to deal with these setbacks. First, make a plan for relapse by anticipating the circumstances in which relapse may be possible and giving yourself the tools to deal with it. For example, if I want to stop drinking, I know that participating in the festivities will be tempting, so I plan my non-alcoholic drinks to bring to the party. Next, management of reinforcement, i.e. finding means to reward his good moves, the relationship of help,


Finally, the change in behavior will be considered permanent after about five years. Adoption of the new habit will be gained and effective when we are not tempted to return to the initial routine and when we are comfortable with the new behavior. So we must not give up. With practice and perseverance you will succeed in adopting better lifestyle habits.

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