I find that if I can be consistent with the little things the big goals just find their way to the surface over time. Take my certification for example. I made a small goal for myself to study 1 hour a day, 5 days a week. That didn’t always happen even though I shot for 100 percent. It was probably more like 85 percent. Regardless, over time, that studying led to my certification and here I am. I find the same holds true for fitness and nutrition.
I talk with so many friends, family, and clients who share their workout and nutrition woes. I don’t mean this in a negative way at all. It’s just that they talk about a new fitness plan or diet/meal plan they are on to reach their desired destination. Now, I get this, I totally do! The problem, however, is that more often then not these people stop (whatever plan they are on) after about a month or two and sometimes just after a few weeks!
I believe the reason for this, in part, is that instead of dipping their toe in the water…..they back up, run full speed and CAAAAAAANNNNOOONNN BAAAAAALLLL into the water! Does this sound familiar? Now, I like a positive attitude, but it’s not always time for cannon balls. Plus it leads to this start, stop, start, stop mentality….which we know from previous posts is HORRIBLE for your body, metabolism, mental outlook and more. So just stop with the cannon balls, okay?
There’s a quote I LOVE that goes like this:
“What I do every day matters more than what I do every once in a while” - Gretchen Rubin
If you eat healthy and work out most days, that piece of cake you eat occasionally, won’t matter. And so, the opposite holds true. If you are eating bad, and rarely workout, that cannon ball you do “every once in a while” won’t matter either.
But how do you stay consistent when you struggle with consistency? Maybe what’s helped me, will help you.
1. Accountability. So many of us need a partner, friend, or coach to help us through the process. Some one who we know will check in with us to see if we’ve done what we intended. This person can be the person we meet at the gym or can be a spouse helping us in the kitchen. Make sure they know that they are to hold you accountable, and you do the same for them! Sometimes helping others helps us help ourselves. When I lived in California, I would meet my best friend every day at the gym after work. We got to catch up on life while simultaneously exercising. I still think fondly of those days. But when one of us didn’t feel like going, we knew the other one was counting on us, so we always showed up! And if that still doesn’t work there’s always a coach, whose sole job is to help you!
2. Start Slow. No more cannon balls. Stop the all or nothing mentality. Like deciding your cutting 1,000 calories from your intake and working out 2 hours a day. Or signing up for the marathon next week when you haven’t run a race in over a decade. Nope. Start slow. Like choosing ONE thing to focus on nutritionally and walking 3 times/week. Once you have mastered the basics you can move on. Mastering one step at time will make sure it sticks. After kids, I felt it daunting to try and get back into shape. But I set one goal. Move 3 times a week. It was attainable. And even though it was slow….over time….it worked.
3. Habit Pairing. Pair that new habit you want to try with another healthy habit you’ve got going on already. Need to start taking a daily vitamin? Set them next to your coffee pot so you have it with your coffee every day. Want to start walking every day? Pair it with your favorite podcast or audio book so that you can’t wait! Want to start prepping food? Do it while you catch up on Netflix 😊.
4. Make a Plan. So many times, we fall short because we don’t plan. You wouldn’t walk into a big meeting at work not having planned for it right? If you want to start exercising regularly put it as an appointment on your calendar. Of course, you can adjust, but you can also KEEP this appointment with yourself. Look ahead. Do you know what you’ll be eating this week? If not, start now, write it down in your calendar, what’s for lunch and dinner. You won’t need a drive through if you have a plan in place. My workouts are in my calendar. I know the times and which workout I’m doing that day. Plus, I plan our nightly dinners a week in advance.
5. Extend Grace. Most of all give yourself room for growth. If you have a tough day, guess what, that’s life! Don’t just decide its over and throw in the towel because you had one tough day, or even one tough week! Life happens! And it happens to us all. Forgive yourself, let it be, what is, IS. And love yourself enough to try again the next day. I remember when my youngest turned 1 and I decided I’d start focusing on my health again. Oh boy, that was tough! I failed, a lot! And some weeks, when the kids were sick, it was just impossible to focus on anything but them. But I realized that it was just a “season” and it would end, and I could get back to it. But not once did I say, forget this!
What has helped you in the past? What has failed? I’m curious to know! And I know what you share will help others. What do you think you will try?
Have a wonderful day! You are worth it! And your balance can be created.