Turn exercising into a habit

Do you struggle to set a good example? Then try to build in some new healthy habits. A habit is something you do automatically, without thinking, such as going for a short walk in the neighbourhood every day. Your child will quickly start imitating you. If they learn such habits from an early age, they will come naturally once they grow up.

How to start a new habit

Starting a new habit can be tough. The if-then plan can help. This type of plan allows you to think about things you want to do for yourself and when. Basically, you tell yourself, “IF this happens, THEN I will do that”.

Examples of ‘if-then plans’ for exercising:

  • IF I have a small errand to run, THEN I’ll cycle.
  • IF my child has just woken up from their afternoon nap, THEN we can go for a short walk.
  • IF we’re going for a walk, THEN I can let my child take a few steps beside the pushchair.
  • IF I am picking up my child from day care, THEN we can walk home together.

For more information on if-then plans, click here.


Which habit do you want to start with? Try to make an if-then plan that fits your situation.

Would you like to start a new habit to encourage you to exercise more? Then don’t choose something you really hate doing. If you really don’t like running, go walking or dancing instead. Also make sure you choose something that is feasible. If you live far away from the supermarket, it may not be feasible for you to go on foot.

It’s easiest to stick to a new habit if:

  • it’s a small change.
  • you don’t mind doing it.