Consistency is a complete game changer if you are seeking a healthier body and lasting change. Most plans will work, if you can stick to them with them. When you use the consistency method though, the results are often invisible to begin with. The little things done each and every day seem boring and insignificant and like they won’t add up. All too often plans are quit before results ever show up.
Being consistent does not fee as sexy or interesting to say that you do Paleo, gluten free or that you juice green smoothies every day. It feels kind of lack luster to simply respond with “I eat consistent.” We tend to value novelty and choose the next best thing over good common sense. We want something that gives us rules so we can be compliant and feel good about our commitments. We want results and we want them now.
I understand because I have been there too. Thinking that if I eat well for a few days my ultimate goal will show up. That if I have a couple good workouts I will reach my strength goals or if I stretch every day for a week my flexibility will improve dramatically. Each time I quit too soon I feed my belief that it is impossible to make change with small daily efforts.
You will be more successful if you understand that the little things you do each and everyday matter and will add up if you wait it out long enough for the outcome to show up. Then keep at it.
Is the answer really to be dieting and struggling and wasting mental and physical energy for the rest of our lives? Is food either a strict plan to be followed with compliancy and discipline or a free for all of eating entire pizzas. Are workouts to be done with dread?
The answer likes in finding the dreaded middle ground of balance and moderation. Of acknowledging where you are truly messing up. Of giving up excuses that the little things don’t work when you have not even put in the effort to know. When I talk talk about my C3 formula for change I use being conscious, compassionate, and, you guessed it, consistent to find your own way. Here is what I hash out with my coaching clients.
How to be more consistent?
Be committed to the process, not the end goal. You have to acknowledge that the reason you are not making progress is because you are not staying consistent. You are not committed to the process day in, day out and focusing on doing the little things to get you to where you want to be. You have to be committed to the process even when you don’t see results. It’s like saving money. If you want to save “x” of dollars, it doesn’t happen right away but with little contributions over time it will.
Practice changing one habit at a time. It is so tempting to want to change everything all at once, but that is exactly what keeps us struggling. Instead, focus on getting really good at one thing before moving on to the next. Where do you start? What is your number one struggle? Focus on changing one big thing that will have a significant impact on your results. Over night snacking, poor lunch choices, lack of activity. Pick one thing and do it well.
Do not deprive or restrict yourself. So often I see people deprive themselves from the foods they love only to fall off the wagon. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT TO GET RESULTS. Just consistent.
Focus on things that matter. Creamer in your coffee or choosing a banana over an apple or a piece of bread here and there are not going to make or break you. Choosing whole pizzas, fast food, and a bottle of wine every single night, might. Focus on the big things that will make a difference. Getting more water in. Having a balance of protein, carbs and veggies at all your meals. Working out a few times a week.
Eat foods you enjoy. Eat delicious food that you enjoy. Because when you do you are so satisfied other foods don’t tempt you. When you are not emotionally satisfied with your food your cravings will be higher. When you are not physically satisfied with your food, you will be craving more. If you do not look forward to what you eat, you are not doing it right and you will not be consistent.
You might love cookies, pizza, pop tarts and nachos but I bet there are healthier foods that you enjoy too! So make a list right now of food you love. See what you come up with and go from there. Then make a list of foods you despise, and don’t eat them.
Focus on a day at a time. Don’t stress about next week or next month or family vacation. Take it day to day. If you find you are feeling overwhelmed then you are probably focusing on too much. Take it meal to meal. If you are still overwhelmed take it moment to moment. Ask yourself what can you do well in this very moment. Embrace the process and learn to shift your focus to what you can have, not what you can’t have. This wears on your willpower and makes you think about what you can’t have even more.
When consistency is going well you can worry less about extreme workouts and perfection with your eating. But you have to sustain motivation to keep you going and you have to have a clear vision in front of you and believe deeply that you can set out what you are about to achieve. It is hard to envision living this in the long run but you will NEVER get there if you are not consistent.
Consistency is what you apply for 30, 60 ,90 days and beyond. Even when you are not seeing immediate results. Even when you feel like you fall off track. Even when you feel lost and don’t know where to turn. It matters less about what specific plan you follow and more that you actually consistent with it.