My intro into the world of fitness was P90X. I’m talking about the original, way back when it was an infomercial and there was nothing else like it out there.
Back then, about eight years ago, I wasn’t into working out. I wasn’t an athlete, never had been. I walked sometimes. I did a really cheesy The Firm workout DVD every once in a while. I owned three pound weights. But I didn’t do any activity worth writing home about, and I certainly wasn’t in great physical shape. Thin, yes, but in good fitness, no.
My husband actually brought up the whole idea, bless his heart. “Hey!,” he said, “Why don’t we do this thing?!” he said. “Okay…” I said.
Meanwhile, I’m thinking, whaaaaa?! 90 days?! Straight?! OF EXERCISING?!? That just seemed insane to me.
But lo and behold, it wasn’t insane at all. After the first month of workouts, going through the first deload week, I remember thinking how excited I was to have finished the first 30 days, and how excited I was to keep going for the next 30. And those next 30 days went fine too. And when the final 30 days got hard, I kept going, because I was in it. It was no longer a question.
I had established consistency.
I no longer struggle with consistency in exercise and eating healthfully. Other stuff though? I still have my issues. Take writing, for example. It’s never come easily for me, and thus, I tend to avoid it. Why?
Because it’s hard.
As humans, we’re kind of conditioned to just avoid the stuff that gives us any resistance. The stuff that forces us to increase our effort. That takes any extra mental or physical energy. And the bummer is, that’s usually the stuff we would get the most benefit from doing. You know, like daily movement and healthy eating.
So how do we get past that? How do we get more consistent at the good stuff?
Do it daily.
Whatever “it” is, make time for it every day. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Since I struggle with writing consistently, I make sure to write something every single day. Even if I don’t publish it, I practice. If you find it hard to keep an exercise routine – stay with me here – exercise every day. That can mean anything. Walk for five minutes with your dog around the block. Try a new class. Do a few sun salutations. Go to the gym and do an hour-long workout. Play on the playground for a little bit. Doesn’t matter, but do something, anything, every. Single. Day.
Make one choice.
Only one. If you are confronted with donuts in the office break room, choose the snack you brought from home instead. Or choose to leave the room. If you have the option for fresh veggies vs. mac and cheese, choose the veg. OK, those choices are hardest, I get that. How about another little choice? Just a couple bites of a cupcake instead of the whole thing. (I do this all the time. There’s almost always cake in my house.) Sharing a beer with your spouse instead of having two each. Grabbing something for breakfast instead of skipping it completely. A Coke Zero instead of a regular Coke. It doesn’t have to be huge, and it doesn’t have to be all day, but one choice will make a difference. Just one choice a day.
It’s so much easier to stay consistent if there’s someone cheering you on. You set an alarm to get up for work every day, no? Same concept. You could start a group that goes walking at lunchtime. You can purchase a program to try. (Ahem, aforementioned P90X not actually recommended.) You can hire a personal trainer, or pre-sign up for daily fitness classes in advance. You can sign up for a meal delivery service. You could state your daily exercise and food goals to a friend or spouse, and ask them to keep you accountable by sending you a quick text every day. You can get a coach for ongoing encouragement. There are countless ways to set yourself up for success by looping other people in with you. You don’t have to go it alone, especially if that hasn’t worked for you in the past. Asking for help does not make you weak or a failure.
Consistency is a big rock. And when we talk about making positive lifestyle changes toward better health and fitness, the big rocks are what count the most. It can seem overwhelming in the beginning, but you can chip away at this one much more easily than you think if you frame it right: Once a day, one choice, with someone you love.
How do you find consistency in your health and fitness routine? I’d love to know your favorite strategies! You can always learn more of mine by signing up for my email list, or get some help incorporating more consistency with Virtual Coaching. Applications open June 28, and you can get on the waitlist here.