Have you ever heard from a (well-meaning) friend or coach that the secret to achieving your fitness goals, or the key to a successful nutrition plan, is consistency? And when they just stop their super-motivating pep talk there without elaborating further, have you ever felt like giving them a few consistent punches to the face?
Well, because I have the luxury of preaching from my keyboard and I’m out of harm’s way, I’ll quickly tell you… they’re right. But consistency is really hard! Think of the long haul of doing the same thing every day, FOREVER! So don’t think that way. It’s a recipe for failure, especially within the context of the pandemic we are going through when unwanted restrictions seem to be lasting longer than any of us would have guessed.
If the long haul of consistency seems like a bad word, let’s fall back to a single decision point: NOW. When you start to feel overwhelmed with having to be perfect all the time, understand that this is not a reasonable goal – nobody is perfect! But what you can do is narrow your focus and just try to make a decision right NOW that will move you toward your goal, and not away from it. Remind yourself of what your goal is and WHY you want to achieve it.
That word WHY is a crucial one as well. “My goal is to lose 20 pounds.” Why? Unless you are clear on this answer, your goal will not motivate you to keep going and to make a good decision right NOW and then in the next NOW down the road.
Some positive answers would be to be the healthiest version of yourself possible, to motivate your kids to achieve their own goals, or because it will advance you toward another, loftier goal like coming off of blood pressure medication.
Some not-so-strong answers because they are more on the negative motivation side would be because someone else (Mom) wants me to do it, or because I will love myself more if I look different. But you can flip those reasons around and charge them positively! I want to show my mom and everyone that I am strong and I can achieve my goals. I love myself and I want to become the image that I have in my mind when I picture my “future self”.
And when you take a quick break from your consistent good decisions and treat yourself with dessert or take an unplanned day off from going to the gym to go do something fun, don’t sweat it! Coach Alex Ray talked to us a few months ago about planning a great nutrition strategy, and one of his major points that stuck with me was to stop attaching guilt and shame to our decision to do something “off-plan”. There will be plenty more NOW moments for you to come back strong. Enjoy yourself, and understand that you’re not going to ruin all the progress that you’ve made with one glass of wine. Then the next time you’re at a NOW decision point, remind yourself of your goal and your WHY, and keep forging ahead.