Do you often set goals with great aspirations to achieve them, find yourself successful for the first 2 to 3 months and then fall off the wagon – AGAIN!!! You are not alone. It happens to all of us. Whether your goals are short term ( vacuuming the house this afternoon during Tommy’s nap) or long term ( learn to run a 10 km by my 35th birthday). It is important to consider many strategies when aiming for success. Things to consider would include – setting SMART goals, writing your goals down, reading motivational messages daily to keep you inspired, managing your stress (stress robs you of the energy required to achieve your goals) and the big one – CONSISTENCY!! When it comes to success in your fitness and nutrition goals – consistency is the key.
Consistency leads to habits. Habits form our behaviors. Consistent behavior leads to success.
It’s never easy to change old habits or start new routines. Studies show that it takes anywhere from 21 to 40 days to really turn a new behavior into a persistent habit. And during that time, you’re going to have to work at it pretty diligently—even when you don’t feel like it.
When you first change your behavior, there is initially a lot of resistance because your brain is not used to functioning in this new way. But over time, as you consistently focus on the new behavior, the pathways in your brain literally begin to change. Over time that momentum becomes easier to maintain as your new behavior becomes a habit that is performed with very little thought or effort.
Many people blame the fitness program or the facility or other people in their life for their lack of success. While these factors can play a part, blaming external stimuli is simply not going to help you move forward. Persisting (even though its tough at times) and consistency is the key to creating lifelong habits and getting the results you want. Consistency, however can be pretty challenging as life often times gets in the way. Sick kids, deadlines at work, no food at the house… by the end of the day, you have no energy left to devote to exercise or healthy eating. The things left undone are your goals.
Here are some keys to promote consistency:
- Don’t’ tell yourself that you’re not motivated. If you really want something – you can do it and you do have all the tools you need. Sometimes when you don’t really feel like exercising – your brain flip flops between “should i or shouldn’t I?” and you have to make a decision. Telling yourself that you lack motivation is just a way of denying that you really do have a choice. It makes the problem seem mysterious and out of your control, and it makes you feel less powerful than you really are, because you lack something (the motivation) you need. In the long run you’ll do better if you acknowledge that the choice is yours to make. You can choose either option, without making excuses or inventing a theory like “lack of motivation” to justify it. Then, pay attention to how you feel about the choice you made, and decide whether that is how you want to feel most of the time. Being consistent does not mean being perfect. (There are going to be days when you decide to do something other than stick to your exercise routine, and that’s fine.) But becoming consistent does mean giving yourself the power to choose.
- Exercise at a time that works for you and your schedule. Try not to follow some one elses’ routine or schedule. Consider your schedule and do what’s best for you and your family. You will be more likely to stay consistent this way.
- Set realistic goals. Your goals should be challenging enough so they are something to strive for yet realistic enough so that you can enjoy the feeling of success once you achieve them. To have a goal of losing 20, 50 or 100 pounds or getting toned and bikini ready is great, but how can you break that down so it doesn’t seem like a huge mountain to climb? A simple way to do this is to set a yearly goal, then break it down to months, then weeks and finally into what you need to do each day in order to achieve your ultimate goal.
- Have a plan B. Plan B is to stay consistent when your regular routine doesn’t work out as planned. The things that get in your way are the ones that happen most of the time. Therefore, have back up family members to watch kids, stock your freezer with some healthy meals and have some extra exercise clothes in the car or on hand for last minute trips to the gym.
- Stay active all year round – even though the good weather brings fun outdoor activities, it is still very important to keep up your strength training routine. It takes hard work to gain muscle but takes little time for it to disappear if you lose the consistency of your routine. Spring is here and summer is on its way. Perhaps, take some time to now to plan your summer that includes 2 – 4 trips into the gym per week to sustain the strength and muscle that you dedicated yourself to in the cooler months. You won’t regret it.
The Fitness Firm offers many programs to help you stay consistent. Our unique Annual Consultation program is a follow up system that ensures our members are staying consistent at the club and are on the right path to achieving their goals. Working with a professional team of fitness and nutrition experts gives our clients the best chance of success. Inquire at the club for a no obligation fitness and health overview.