Completing a challenge normally involves you changing some of your habits and installing new, positive habits into your lifestyle. When the challenge finishes the next obstacle is trying to maintain these new habits and avoiding going back into your old habits!
Maintaining exercise habits developed during the challenge was a topic discussed in our main article, with the main focus on continuing exercises you enjoy. The best type of exercise program is one that you enjoy, as you are far more likely to continue to exercise and maintain your new habit.
Some of our clients find improving poor dietary habits easier during a challenge because they know they have a finite amount of time theses habits can be ignored. Once the challenge has ended it may be harder to ignore the cravings. The intake of foods high in sugar, processed foods and alcohol can be difficult to modify. Limiting the latter throughout the week may be one strategy. Small changes have big results. If you have a sweet tooth, instead of having a chocolate bar every day as an afternoon snack have it twice a week, swapping it with a healthier alternative on the other three days a week. If you enjoy a glass of wine with dinner every night, try having two to three alcohol free nights a week. Small changes to your diet can have large impacts on your overall health and composition.
Having an exercise buddy or diet comrade can help to maintain your motivation to stay healthy. If you have developed good habits during the challenge, use your support network once the challenge has ended to help you maintain these habits. It can be a two-way street, with your exercise or diet buddy using you as support to continue their good habits as well.
Implementing small changes and performing activities that you enjoy will help you maintain your good habits well past the end of the challenge.
Timothy Hanson AEP ESSA