I need to have more reminders at appropriate times
When trying to create a new habit or behaviour, it isn’t second nature to it. You need prodding and poking to remind to do things because you will naturally follow a common daily routine that you’ve built up over time. It’s difficult to break these habits or routines and add or replace something with a new activity. You may need to proactively put things in place so that you remember to do your activities, whether that be physical reminders such as alarms and diaries to social reminders such as doing some activities with a friend.
Reminders can take many forms but the key thing is to make reminders that you are going to see or hear and do something about. One common use of reminders is by using an app for an activity. They normally are related to a specific activity, such as walking, running or cycling but incorporate notifications to remind you to do your activity, how long you should be going for or maybe some hints and tips to support you. Some of those apps are highlighted below.
NHS Active 10
The Active 10 app records every minute of walking you do (anonymously). Just pop your phone in your pocket and away you go! The app tracks your steps, helps you set goals, shows you your achievements and gives you tips to boost your activity. Did you know walking briskly, even for 1 minute, counts as exercise? What are you waiting for - take your first steps today!
NHS – Couch to 5K
Couch to 5K is a running plan for absolute beginners. Taking up running can seem like a scary prospect, especially if you feel out of shape or unfit. NHS Couch to 5K will help you gradually work up towards running 5km in just 9 weeks.
Whereas these apps are helpful for walking and running, you can set this type of mechanism up yourself by using alarms or some other type of technological reminder that you can programme in at the appropriate times for you. If you need a reminder to go for a lunchtime walk rather than sitting at your desk, you can put that in your electronic diary or put an alarm on your phone to remind you at the time you want.
A good and more supportive reminder is to use your friends and family member to give you little nudges at the right times. Having their support is a great way to build an active habit and the more help you can get, the better and more likely to achieve your goals. Using social cues could be as simple as a partner or friend literally reminding you to go and do your activity (we all forget things sometimes!) through to having them do the activity with you. If you are planning to go to an activity with a friend, they will be able to remind you but also add a social pressure as to not let them down if you don’t ‘really feel like it today’. They can provide motivation to go or perhaps physically drag you along too!
Build Natural Reminders
One way of creating an active habit is associate your activity to an existing habit so that your day to day actions act as your activity reminder. For example, if you are planning to go on an evening walk, plan it after doing the washing up so that you build the habit of washing up and walking (could be a double bonus if you don’t do the dishes!) or link going to the gym with leaving work to take a new route if that’s what you’re looking to do. The nearer you can associate your new active behaviour with an existing habit, the stronger that reminder will be and the quicker that new habit will be formed.
Not all reminders that are required are ones to go and do activity. There are other things that you may need to do to enable to do your activity. You may want to consider reminders to get your gym kit ready if you plan to go to a class early in the morning or before work as trying to organise that in a hectic morning routine is too difficult. You may need that reminder the evening before to get your kit ready and left by the front door or put in it in the boot of the car. If you are planning to participate in a class, you may to be reminded to book at the right time so that you can go and do it, that may require booking at a point in the week such as from 9am from 7 day before the activity and it may be first come, first served. Your reminders may not be for you but perhaps for your partner or friends who you need to look after the kids or do something whilst your being active