By: Caitlin Gaudreau
We’ve all been there—we’re super gung ho to get fit and to live that healthier lifestyle; we do it for a few days or weeks, and then…not so much. We're told that consistency is key, but knowing and doing are two different things. So, why is consistency so dang hard to manage?
The biggest reason that consistency is so hard is because what we are trying to do is not enjoyable; we don’t do what we don’t like doing, plain and simple. When people decide to change their diet or their workout habits, they tend to think in absolutes: “No sweets EVER!”; or “Workout EVERY SINGLE DAY!”. While a few people have the ability to change their habits with ease, the majority of us don’t. This all-or-nothing way of thinking often leads to binge eating, followed by immense guilt. It's a negative thought pattern that's best to avoid.
When contemplating diet or lifestyle changes, no one expects you to be perfect or to do it 100% of the time. A much more manageable expectation is to try a few days a week: it allows you to see/feel the results, and can therefore help motivate further positive changes. Usually grab a Starbucks coffee before work every morning? Maybe you can bring a travel mug of coffee from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays—this reduces your caloric intake and saves you money, which are both positive things that can encourage moving up to 3 days a week of home brew. Start small and build up over time.
Along with eating habits, physical activity is another area that you can take small steps in. You don’t have to punish yourself with a hardcore workout 7 days a week to see change. Try incorporating 10 minutes of activity into your daily routine; it could be anything from going for a short walk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or purposely walking all the aisles of the grocery store (not just the aisles you need). The 10 minutes of activity you choose will depend on your current goals and mobility level.
Another way to make consistency easier is to have an accountability partner. It’s a lot harder to bail on something if you know that someone is counting on you to do it. This can include joining a group fitness class or personal training, or as simple as scheduling a walking date with a friend. Have a coworker you normally grab your Starbucks with? Maybe suggest you walk to the coffee shop, or skip the coffee altogether and use the fresh air from the walk to rejuvenate you after lunch.
If you find that consistency is something you are really struggling with, reach out to one of our trainers here. They understand this struggle better than anyone and have more than a few tricks up their sleeves to help deal with it.
And remember: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” (Lao Tzu). Start small, start easy, and find ways to make it fun!
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Tom Lyonette is a former soccer player and endurance athlete specialising in lower back pain recovery, weight-loss and endurance sports. He will help you through the process of change, challenge you to improve, and support you by keeping you accountable.