Ensuring your walking for weight loss journey becomes a daily habit can be difficult after all “I can’t wait to head to go walking for weight loss” said me NEVER!
I am all about walking for weight loss but incorporating it in to my daily life is the way to go. For me it needs to be something that doesn’t seem like a chore.
If I were to have to go walking when I got home I would use all the excuses at hand, such as I’m tired, I’m hungry, I’ve so much other stuff to do. The thing is that I am generally lazy, however I like the feeling of walking for weight loss, it improves my health and it helps me lose weight.
Are you like me and have used every excuse in the book to get out of exercise? You are not alone. In this blog post I want to break down why we think the way we do and and how together we can both make walking for weight loss a habit over the long term to help us reach our goals. I’m also hoping it will give you the tools to use to help build other life affirming habits too!
Ensuring walking for weight loss journey becomes a daily habit: how are habits formed?
My children love routine, it has been through routine that they formed habits, I was consistent with them when they were young and they felt safe and secure. It also helped them form their own habits of getting washed, brushing their teeth etc. the thing about routine and habit is that they are the key to achieving our goals. It is this consistency and regularity that is very important.
There are days when I don’t want to go for that lunch time walk, however I always do something even if it is something small, that movement of going forward helps me form a habit. Put simply habits are things that you do every day but which are frequent.
Research has shown that it takes us on average 66 days to form a habit. To be honest I thought it was 6 days! Just goes to show that we need to be patient.
While habits are something that are formed when we do something over and over, there are other things that come in to play to help us form habits.
So if we are going to ensure walking for weight loss journey becomes a daily habit we also must consider:
- Doing it regularly
- Have a cue to do it
- We do it without thinking.
So knowing this, walking 10,000 steps a day for weight loss is great but if we don’t have a cue or we don’t do it without thinking then it won’t become a habit.
Knowing that we can then create the right circumstances so that we automatically walk for weight loss throughout the day and helping us ensure walking for weight loss journey becomes a daily habit
Choosing how to walk for weight loss which leads to success & ensures walking for weight loss journey becomes a daily habit
If we set a goal of 10,000 steps a day – or how many steps you can manage at the moment and we are doing to do that 5 days a week – we then go off and do that. However it doesn’t necessarily follow that you will be doing that 3 months from now. to make it a habit you have to ask yourself – what is my end goal, what vision do I have for myself on this walking for weight loss journey?
Without knowing this then you won’t know if the habit you want to start will lead to the success you want to achieve. the answer to those questions, you won’t be able to figure out what habits lead to success. Having a clear goal and vision in mind will help you make your habit a success.
Having your goal and the actions attached to that goal will help you form your habit however work in small steps at first and form the first habit before moving on to the next.
Ensuring walking for weight loss journey becomes a daily habit: Choosing your cues
Every week day I walk 40 minutes to the train station from work. I don’t make the decision to walk my cue is that at the end of a work day I walk, I do it automatically.
Using this example my “cue” is the end of the of the day, the second cue is going out the door, I do this every evening no matter what the weather.
My walking for weight loss is triggered by a combination of the following:
- Home time
- Exiting the office.
Using another example, brushing your teeth in the evening. now you don’t brush your teeth every time you visit the bathroom in the evening. there are certain cues that trigger this action.
What I’m saying is that to form the habit of walking for weight loss then adding it in to what you already do is the easiest way to make it become a habit.
To help you incorporate more walking in to your daily routine you simply pick a trigger, for example:
- If I use the car to get to work, then I will park further away to increase my steps
- If I need to speak to my work colleague, then I will walk to her office rather than send and email
- When I enter my office building, I will walk the stairs
Creating these statements in advance will help you follow through on your actions. the thing is that these will then be your cues.
When you do this the task at hand which is walking for weight loss becomes so much easier.
What’s your reward for walking for weight loss?
Ensuring walking for weight loss journey becomes a daily habit also involves rewarding myself a little too much when I hit a goal. It’s normally food! that is a bad habit right there! Rewards are something that can be used to form a habit but if I’m trying to lose weight a reward of food isn’t it!
Rewarding yourself is important but more often than not we are doing it too often and the reward is just too big.
A reward should be something that will give us wee boost that makes you
feel good about walking for weight loss but something that doesn’t
impact on your main goal of losing weight.
If you are walking for weight loss you need to like what you are doing and enjoy it, that’s what I love about walking, it is something I can do every day and fit in to what my life is like.
If you do want to reward yourself a the end of each week of walking for weight loss then your reward should be immediately after your walking, it should be related to what you are trying to achieve and it should be small!
Conclusion: How to make walking for weight loss a habit
Environmental cues and doing things automatically is the key to making walking for weight loss a habit Coupled with small rewards will also help you. So to summarize I suggest to make walking for weight loss a habit you should:
- Identify your goal. Start small.
- Create environmental triggers. Connect the actions you want to do such as walking to your everyday activities and fit these in to what you already do.
- Use small rewards. Use rewards to help you enjoy what you are doing not in spite of what you are doing.
How long does it take to form a walking for with loss habit?
The thing is it takes as long as it takes as each of us are different and we have different motivations for doing what we are doing.
Ensuring walking for weight loss journey becomes a daily habit will become easier if you follow the ideas set out above and you incorporate walking in to your daily routine then it should become a habit quicker. It will depend on your cues, how you will incorporate your habit in to what you are doing now and the time you devote to it.
If you need help in thinking of how to incorporate walking in to your every day life then head over to my blog post on tips to hit 10,000 steps if you have a desk job.