Welcome to WeStretch! If you're here, then you're probably looking how to form a stretching habit.
Now comes the challenge of making it a consistent habit, to make it a part of your daily routine, but that can be daunting. How do you even get this change started?
Well, one of the biggest steps is just to start. Don’t wait for next Saturday or until you feel that you have time to commit to it. Like Nike always says: “Just Do It.” It only takes twenty-one days to form a habit, after all!
Make an action plan for creating a new stretching habit.
What might help is determining why you want to start stretching. Think about this, talk about it, write it down- however you best process your thoughts. This easy goal-setting process only needs a few minutes.
Maybe you want to be able to touch your toes again or you don’t want to be in pain after playing with the kids in the yard. Maybe you want to do some form of exercise but running or the gym is just too daunting. Whatever the reason is, having a goal to look forward to will help keep you on track.
What excuses are holding you back?
The other side of that is to think of some of the excuses as to why you won’t stretch and dispel them. You don’t have enough time? You can find little pockets of thirty seconds. Don’t have a dedicated space for it?
People have done stretching exercises in kitchens, parks and bathrooms- find your own little corner!
You feel fine without stretching right now? Awesome! But what about in five, ten, or fifty years? Plan for the future!
Visualize that you've already achieved your goal.
One of the biggest elements of achieving any goal is to mentally accomplish it. By determining why you want to stretch and squashing the excuses, you have started on your path to success. The next step is to start believing that you will succeed. Believe in yourself, that you can make a habit of stretching, that you are looking forward to how wonderful your body will feel.
One of the best ways to do this is to focus your thoughts on this right before you go to sleep. By thinking of how you will do it, imagining your body going through the motions before you sleep will help the thought enter your subconscious and allow you to succeed with ease.
Great! You have the will and desire to stretch and your specific goals to accomplish! What next?
Ideas that will help you form your stretching habit:
Do it for thirty days (or more!)
Make a goal to stretch everyday for 30 days. Try starting with three minutes a day and add a minute every day. It helps build this positive habit, and even once you reach the end of the thirty days, you’re only a few minutes over a half an hour! Totally manageable.
Challenge someone to a stretching contest.
WeStretch has a neat feature built in, where you can challenge friends and family to stretching competitions! Having that desire to beat someone by having a longer stretching session than them or having an unbroken streak longer can be a great motivator.
Set a specific time aside in your day.
The consistency of a schedule can help you reach your goals. Can you wake up an extra fifteen minutes earlier to get stretched and ready for your day? Want to stretch for ten minutes to quiet your mind before going to sleep? Maybe you want to use part of your lunch break to do some flexibility exercises as a reset for the afternoon?
All of these are wonderful times, and all have different advantages! Staying consistent with the time of day will help you form this good habit!
Think of mini-goals to achieve.
You aren’t going to become a yoga master overnight, but you can be one step closer every day. Think of little goals you can accomplish and give you actual markers to achieve. It can be to touch your toes, to stretch five days in a row, to challenge a friend, to stretch in a park, to stretch while watching a movie, or any other physical activity that is measurable and you want to achieve.
Make visual aides to hold yourself accountable
If you are a visual person, this can be a great help. Create a chart or page with what you want to accomplish and mark down every time you finish a small goal. It doesn’t have to be boring- you can get creative and colourful if you like! The physical act of checking off your list encourages you to keep going.
Remember through this all, is that you don’t have to do it perfectly the first time. The important thing is to get up and start again.
If you get caught up and miss three days in the middle of your thirty-day challenge, it’s okay. Continue where you left off. The only true failure is allowing a temporary pause to become a full stop.
You can accomplish anything you put your mind to. Making a habit of stretching regularly is a great way to help yourself form new habits, as well as strengthening your body and improving your physical health.
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This article is not intended to act as or replace medical advice. Please talk to your health care practitioner if you have any concerns.