” I was doing pretty well with my food improvements until the holiday…” This is a phrase that I have heard many times during the days since Thanksgiving.
As if it weren’t hard enough in this culture to eat whole, unadulterated foods on a regular basis, holidays of any kind make it that much harder. Without going into the details of what we face and must discern at every meal, let’s turn whatever “slips” we had in November into “keys to success” when we get to the more extensive, more sugar-laden days in December. Let’s look at where the tough spots are and form a better game plan for what lies ahead. Part of the answer here, I’m sure, is embracing the concept of consistency.
Do you remember the tortoise and the hare? After he is beaten, Hare reminds himself, “Don’t brag about your lightning pace, for Slow and Steady won the race!”
There is a good deal of wisdom in this age-old Aesop fable, that has plenty to do with the importance of consistency in reaching our health and fitness goals. Whether you have committed to eating healthy, to exercising regularly, to getting better sleep, or some other health-related goal, being consistent pays a crucial role in achieving your ambitions.
Here’s a look at the importance of consistency. A single penny doubled every day for 31 days results in a whopping $10,737,418.24! A single penny doubled every other day for 31 days yields just $163.84. Quite the difference!
Consistency isn’t just about how to make millions of dollars. It is a far deeper, broader issue.
Consistency is about developing the persistence and the patience necessary to stay focused on your goal until it has been realized.
Simply put, the fastest way to any goal is consistency.
However, there are obstacles here. Consistency Zappers Do Exist! The greatest of these are our excuses. You’ve heard them before. You’ve perhaps said them before:
“I have so many things I‘m dealing with right now. I can’t focus on just one.”
“Consistency is difficult when I am so busy.”
“Some things aren’t as important this week as they were last week.”
There are so many other excuses, as you well know, some of which come cloaked in the most admirable of attire. “I wanted to help so and so.” “They made this gorgeous meal…..” Our excuses are the biggest challenge to be overcome if we are to be consistent in doing what we must do to achieve our goals. My own history has taught me that my excuses won’t keep me from being consistent if the goal is important enough to me.
Is there a health or fitness or well-being goal you would like to achieve?
Here are 7 recommendations for increasing your consistency.
1. Make a Commitment. When you have identified what you need to do to accomplish your goal – double your vegetable intake, exercise daily, get to bed an hour earlier – whatever – make the commitment to be consistent, without fail or excuse. Make the decisions about the when and how of what you do in advance, rather than waiting until the time you plan to do it.
2. Set Up Routines. Establish a routine for taking care of daily activities. Carve out the amount of time that you need for each task that is a part of the activity. For example, I like to juice once a week. That means that I have set aside an hour—10-15 minutes for prepping the fruits and vegetables, 5 for doing the actual juicing, and then 10-15 more for the cleanup. Then I can enjoy a quart or two of fresh juice.
3. Do Not Allow Excuses. The simple fact is this — You can have results or you can have excuses. You can’t have both.
4. Take Advantage of Your Peak Energy State. Use the times when your energy level is highest to devote to the activities you need to be consistent about. It’s far easier to stick to a goal when your energy is high than when you are exhausted.
5. Do the Challenging Tasks First. If the tasks that will drive your results and help you achieve your goal are hard, do them first. It’s too easy to put off the things that we don’t enjoy.
6. Review Your Goals Often. It helps, after you have written down a goal, to write yourself a commitment letter anytime you find yourself procrastinating or rationalizing that something else is more important.
7.Commit to 21 Days in a Row. Research has shown that new habits are formed only after 21 days of repeated behavior. Consistency becomes much easier once the habit is established. If, for example, you want to drink more Green Smoothies, commit to making them for 3 weeks – 21 days. After that, you won’t want to be without them.
To be successful with consistency in your overall goals, there are a few things to keep in mind as well.
– Review your goals and decide what you need to adjust in your life and routines to be consistent in achieving them.
– Decide which of the above 7 suggestions apply to your particular situation.
– Put together an action plan.
– Set a consistency goal that you can maintain over an extended period of time.
– Be realistic. Taking on more than you can manage, will only end in frustration.
You are in charge of your life and how you spend your time. Remind yourself often that you are worth the time, effort, and consistency that it takes to be healthy in mind, body, and spirit.