In The Beginning…
When starting a health and fitness journey, you aim to achieve various goals such as losing fat, gaining strength, improving mobility, reducing pain or increasing endurance. To make these changes, you improve your diet, incorporate an exercise routine, work on your mindset, and change night-time habits to enhance sleep quality. Initially, you witness significant progress towards your goals, but eventually, you hit a plateau where progress slows down, and you begin to question your approach and slip back into old habits, leading to a frustrating cycle of seeing your goal get closer and farther away.
Changes That Last
Achieving goals is not only about healthy lifestyle changes. These changes are the first step. The answer is consistency. Consistently sticking to the nutrition plan that works for you, consistently showing up to your exercise session, consistently sleeping well, and consistently stretching.
When I find someone looking back at a time when they were closer to their goal, they ask: where did I go wrong? Why am I further from my goal now? The answer 9 times out of 10 is that somewhere their consistency slipped.
So, how do we stay consistent with new habits? It’s all about routine. These new habits need to be sustainable. It will be something that comes naturally and without question. There are no quick fixes. It is a long and often emotional journey.
An area that trips people up is trying to change too much all at once. Overwhelming yourself with change in so many different areas can be confusing. Start small. Change one thing at a time. Use the old trial and error system. For instance, if you're trying to add more water to your morning routine, figure out which method will become the most natural for you. Leaving a bottle of water next to your bed to drink first thing? Having a jug of water in the fridge which you pick out first? Adding lemon slices to your water to make it more refreshing? What can become as natural as washing your face or brushing your teeth in the morning without requiring any thought?
When we discuss a consistent lifestyle, we must consider your motivation. Moving in and out of consistent habits indicates a lack of motivation. To maintain motivation, you must identify your WHAT and WHY. What do you want from your body specifically? Why is this so important to you and why must you succeed?
Everyone initially struggles with these questions. When we are younger, we have external sources asking us what we want. Parents, teachers, and friends ask: what do you want to do with your life? What degree do you want to study? What career path do you want to follow? We start this journey and at some point, we stop asking ourselves these questions. We keep following the same path as we think we must. Only when people notice themselves as unhappy, are driven by fear or trying to escape something do they look for change. But running away only gets you so far. Finding what you specifically want from your health and fitness and why you want it will be a huge motivator and help you stay consistent. This concept applies from the pro-athlete to the person thinking about beginning exercise for the first time in their life.
To improve health and fitness, consistency is key for long-term and lasting change. Finding a routine may be a process, but once established and repeated day in and day out, there will be a positive outcome. If consistency has been difficult for you, look to your mindset and start asking yourself those difficult questions.
If you are looking for help in creating consistent habits to achieve and maintain your goals, come meet and chat with us here at StrongSelves for a “functional body assessment”.