Friday 15 November 2019

Karl Henry: Set the goal and reward yourself when you do it

School of Health Week 8: Keep going on your journey, says Karl Henry

Give yourself a well deserved pat on the back, you’ve made it — but what’s next?
Give yourself a well deserved pat on the back, you’ve made it — but what’s next?

Wow, can you believe week eight is here.

Nearly two months has passed since you took up the back-to-school, back-to-basics challenge and today you will be graduating with gold stars. Over the course of the last seven weeks, my goal has been pretty simple, to try to teach you the skills for a healthy life, skills that will help you to feel better, live better, lose weight, improve your mood and your sleep. The other main goal was to give you tools that you can keep going long after the series is finished - rach week building on the previous. I know it may have been tough, but you did it and a really big well done.

So what's next for you?

Now it's time to look to the future - a healthy future. How do you keep it going? Firstly, I always recommend using goals to keep you focused. Those weekly measurements are one way of keeping you going, taking them weekly and making a note of the numbers. Remember, progression equals motivation. So keep measuring and when you see progress you will far more likely to stay healthier.

Secondly, use events. Runs, cycles, hillwalks, swims, to be honest it doesn't really matter what the event is, but it gives you something to work towards. It's my own personal favourite way of keeping myself motivated

Thirdly, don't fear failure and always reassess. Sometimes things don't work out and that's ok, learn from it. Just like we have done in the last few weeks, spend some time reflecting on the experience and what did and didn't work, keep the positives and change the negatives.

Finally, my tip is to act today - NOW - after reading this column. One of the worst things you can do for your health is to procrastinate. The more you procrastinate, the less exercise you will actually do. So sign up for an event today. Schedule in your workouts for this week, and do it today.

When exercising, aim to just get it done. Don't put it off. When you set those targets, no matter what that target is or that event is, don't forget to reward yourself when you complete it. The act of reward is your own way of patting yourself on your back.

That reward can be anything, a book, a meal out or a weekend away, it doesn't really matter. What matters is the act of reward. Once you have done it, set the next target, the next goal and reward yourself when you hit it.

Overall, I just want to say a very big well done to you for taking this challenge on.

I hope that you have had fun and you learnt lots of good tips over the weeks. Hopefully this healthy kick has given you every tool that you need to ensure that you can lead a healthy, longer and happier life.

HOMEWORK: Make simple swaps and keep on track

FOOD: The goal for the last few weeks was to get you to simplify your food, pull it back to basics; cook more and eat more colourful foods. This week I want you to try cook three new recipes. Keep learning and upskilling each week, it's great for your cooking ability, but it's also great to keep you on track.

EXERCISE: You have done resistance training, stretching and cardio. They are the three main elements of fitness - continue to mix between them and keep pushing your boundaries by using events to work towards and working hard in your sessions. If I was to give you one piece of homework this week, it would be to try some new form of exercise.

MOTIVATION: The best way of keeping yourself motivated and engaged when it comes to exercise and health is the goal and reward theory - as well as surrounding yourself with positive people. This week I would like you to reward yourself for all the hard work you have put in over the last seven weeks.

LIFESTYLE: Building your lifestyle for health is so important as it makes health easy. For this week, I want you to take a look at the different areas of your life - family, work and self - look at how you can make these better. Think about what simple swaps you can make that will make you healthier.

Every week, Independent.ie features The Real Health podcast with Karl Henry, in association with Laya Healthcare, which gives listeners tips on how to improve their lives. This week's podcast on how to deal with anxiety is available at independent.ie/realhealthpodcast

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