Experts say it can take up to 21 days to form a good habit, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Good habits support and maintain fitness and health goals, and provide a vital scaffold to a healthy lifestyle. One of the most important things to remember is that a healthy lifestyle is not formed overnight – instead, it’s achieved little by little by adopting habits that eventually form a part of a healthy routine. Without forming healthy habits, clients can’t maintain the momentum in their fitness journeys, and won’t be able to reap all of the benefits of their fitness goals. Fitness instructors can harness many techniques that will benefit their clients in forming habits that benefit their fitness journey. Here’s three ways that you can enable your client to form good habits:
Don’t start big
While it does work for some, most people find that changing their lifestyle overnight doesn’t support their overall goals. By going from zero to hero in one step, it’s common for people to trip up, become overwhelmed or even give up. Instead of jumping into the deep end, encourage your client to build good habits slowly. The most important element of this is making sure you understand your client’s big-picture goals: what are they setting out to achieve? What is their focus on their fitness journey? By fleshing long-term goals out, you can seamlessly help clients create small goals that act as stepping stone toward their fitness aims.
Help them work on one or two small habits at a time, such as going for a walk every afternoon or skipping a second helping at dinner. By supporting your clients to change smaller habits first, they are more likely to see a glimmer of change in their lifestyle and feel motivated to continue kicking their fitness and health goals.
Help them to notice opportunities to move
One of the most common excuses for people lacking motivation is that they don’t have time to exercise or implement healthy habits. It’s completely understandable that your client may be busy working full-time and juggling three kids – but that just gives them the opportunity to think outside of the box. Regardless of how much time we have, we can all begin to seize opportunities to move around in our day-to-day life. One of the most important things for clients to realise is that fitness is not just about our physical bodies – it’s also about our mindsets. Depending on client goals, simply moving around a little more is a great first step towards exercising more frequently. For example, encourage your client to park a little further away from the supermarket so they can stretch their legs a little. Encourage them to walk around while on a phone call, or to catch up with a loved one over a stroll instead of a cup of tea. This tip improves client mobility and allows them to see that an average day is full of opportunities to move around.
Encourage healthy sleep habits first and foremost
If you notice your client may be having issues with their sleep, switch your focus to encouraging an improvement in this habit. Sleep hygiene is a major pillar of health and fitness, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly or left unaddressed. While many of us feel like we can easily run on four or five hours of sleep every night, it’s important to remember our goals can’t be reached if we’re simply ‘making it’ through the day. Insufficient sleep can cause a host of issues that will impact the overall health and wellness of your client, including mood swings, cardiovascular issues, diabetes and more. Conquer this habit with your client at the beginning, and they’ll be well on their way to forming a healthy and motivated lifestyle.