Overcome competing priorities and desires

Your assessment has suggested that you need some help to overcome competing priorities and desires. You need to have some understanding about behaviour and from there, how do you manage your priorities to enable you to take part in some physical activity. It is hard to build in activity to your daily life, especially when free time is precious. If you want to become more active, some things may have to be stopped or shortened and some techniques will be useful to ensure that your activity comes out on top of the battle of wills! One thing is for sure, if you want to be more active, you’ll have to be able to focus on it to some extent as physical activity behavior is a complex thing so whereas it doesn’t need to be the biggest priority, it does need to be high on the list for sustained behaviour change.

However, you know you best so we can only support you so far but if you need more help, either please complete the referral form if you’ve just completed the assessment or refer yourself for support by clicking the button below and selecting the Physical Activity option.


There are a few hints and tips that have been shown to work at changing activity behaviour, these will have to be adapted to your daily life but if some of these might work, it worth giving it a go!

Child cycling on an inclusive Trike

Know your Trigger Behaviours

There are things that you do which have a knock-on impact on others, which could affect your activity levels. You need to think about actions that you do daily which make be active more difficult. For example, think about when you eat meals if you don’t like being active after those or you may want to avoid sitting down on the sofa before you have an opportunity to be active as that makes it harder to motivate yourself. You may be working from home and you can plan in a walk or a workout into your day to get away from your desk. The more you can avoid the triggers for inactive behaviours, the more likely you will be active and continue to be.

Home Gym equipment

Use Prompts and Cues

Sometimes it’s not a lack of motivation that is the key issue but it’s forgetting to utilise the opportunities you have until it’s too late. Until a behaviour has been done enough times to become more of a habit, it sometimes requires some reminders every now and again. Some examples that you can adopt are;

  • Leave gym kit by the front door/in the car at work
  • Use alarms on your phone to remind you
  • Use apps that plan your activity with notifications
  • Tell friends and family to come and get you for activities
Woman running with watch on

Monitor your Activity

To help understand your behaviour and how it’s changed, you need to be able to monitor it. This can be as simple as step counting through to the latest in wearable technology submitting blood pressure, ECGs, quality of sleep and stress levels! You may be someone who is a little competitive, either with others or yourself, and want to do better than before to show progression. You can also set targets for yourself if you have a means to measure your activity levels. For more information on ways to monitor your activity behaviour, click the button below.

monitor your activity behaviour

Man cycling to work in the city

Behaviour Substitution

Daily physical activity can be built in by considering how a more active method of tasks can be completed. Most advice on physical activity is about attending structured sessions but huge gains can be achieved by changing how behave every day.  To add activity, you could consider;

  • Going for a walk with friends instead of meeting in a cafe
  • Walk to work/school or at least park further away and walk the last part of the journey
  • Use the stairs rather than the lifts
  • Instead of sitting watching TV, go for a walk listening to a podcast

There are many substitutions you do so thin about where you may be able to squeeze a bit of activity into your day.

Cycle trail Sign

Reduce Negative Emotions

This may seem obvious but if you’re not an active person or you want to go and try something new, fear and anxiety may set in….am I good or fit enough to do this, where can I park, do I have the right clothing or equipment? This cause stress and ultimately may stop you from taking part. Help reduce the anxiety of that situation by gaining as much information as possible beforehand, have a chat with the leader of the session you’re going to, they can describe what will happen and some even have videos that you can see, plan your route, speak to other people who have been in your position before. Try and develop a good picture of what will happen before you even get there.

Instructor having a consultation with a client

Plan Ahead

Thinking ahead and making plans will make creating an active habit much easier. The less you have to think about your activity at any time because it’s already planned for you, the more likely you are to complete the task. This takes a bit of time at some point to put the work in but once you have a plan for what you’re going to do to achieve your goals, you don’t have to ‘think about it again! In the time it takes to think about what you’ve done, what you should be doing and when you’re going to do it, your motivation will have probably dropped and it’s more likely that you won’t do it. This could be using a simple paper tracker/planner or you can use a number of apps on your mobile and some even give you a plan to follow, such as Active 10 walking app and Couch 2 5K jogging app.


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