You made a great goal in January, whether it's to improve your strength, shed some weight, or try a new fitness challenge, how do you stick with it when, well...
You stick to it through CONSISTENCY and ACCOUNTABILITY. Let's dive in a little deeper...
Commitment regardless of challenges or temptations to do other You are going to face challenges, that is 100% inevitable. You are going to be tempted to eat foods that you know are triggering for you if you are trying to lose weight, or skip workouts on days you are tired and have other things that you want to get done. If your goal is worth it, you will make the time for it.
Overriding the tendency to bail or make excuses When those challenging moments do arise - because they will - you need some solid fire extinguishers in your back pocket. PLAN for what you will do in those moments! If you are out with friends and everyone orders another round, what will you say when you know this is not going to get you where you need to be? Prep ahead and know your answer. What will you do when you are at the grocery story and pass your favorite cookie? Prep ahead and know this will happen.
Not giving into your saboteurs. There are going to be people who may be out to derail you. It may not be on purpose (although sadly it might), but there will always be people who don't care about your goal or who maybe don't even want you to succeed. Evaluate if this is happening and how you can discuss it with them or, if the situation necessitates, how this person might not be much of a friend after all.
Quieting the voice inside that asks you to do do the more tempting option. Sometimes it's like others are out to get us and derail our plans, but more often than not, it's ourselves. We can be our own worst enemy. I've seen it happen a million times. People are chugging away on their plan to success and they literally sabotage THEMSELVES. They know better. They know that having a certain food in the house will get them every time. They know that lousy weather makes it too easy to say, nah, not today, for a workout. Don't be your own saboteur. There are too many other ones out there. Stick with your plan.
Making a plan and executing it regardless of how it "sounds" or "feels" on that particular day Stop analyzing every little feeling. I'm tired, I better skip that workout. I'm a little hungry, or stressed, I better eat something right this second. Just stop for a minute. Are you really hungry? Are you actually unable to workout at all, or maybe could you do something a little less intense but still get something done? One of the worst things we can do to ourselves is "paralysis by analysis." Sometimes you just have to move forward. (Note: please don't mistake this for overriding extreme pain that could cause more harm than good!)
Hitting your mark between 95-100% of the time You don't have to be perfect, but you need to strive to be as close to 100% as you can. Sure, you can go over on your calories by a little one day of the week and it probably won't stop your progress, but do it a little here, a little there - all those "littles" add up to be a lot. A lot to keep you right where you are. Aim to be on track. On that note...
Integrating it into your life If you make your plan or goal so "other" that it is not a natural part of your life, you are bound to fail. Make hitting your goal a part of your life. Have contingency restaurants and food choices in mind (even if these are not perfect options, what could you get at say, a Wendy's if this was all that was available?) Put a spare set of workout clothes and shoes in you car so you never have a reason not to or forget. Put shoes right next to your treadmill. Plan to do something DAILY so that if you DO miss a day, no big deal - you got in 5-6 others! Yep, you heard me right. But think about this, you don't plan to brush your teeth do you? Of course not, that's gross. You just do it. However, if you were to miss a night because you fell asleep on the couch, it would be ok. Exercise should really be the same. Aim to something most days and watch your consistency (and health!) improve rapidly!
Setting yourself up for success so that failure is not an option Make your goal soooo doable that you can't help but succeed! Break down large, seemingly impossible goals into super simple, super small ones. Want to lose 50 pounds? Great, start with a goal of 2 pounds and celebrate the heck out of that success! (Check out some of the visible goals hanging up at my place for ideas.)
Failing to plan is planning to fail Remember, if you don't have a plan that you can consistently stick to, you are pretty much setting yourself up for failure. I am not being harsh, just realistic. Things to include are: - what your goal is (remember, start small!) - why it's important - when you want to achieve it by - and, most importantly, HOW you are going to achieve it - your action steps. This should take into account both food and exercise. If you don't know how to write these goals, please see me and let me help you with this step!
Write down your plan Consider using my visual goals plan, which helps with many of these accountability points listed above and, most importantly, emphasizes breaking big goals down into smaller, more manageable goals.
Give yourself a time frame Goals without an expiration date are just hopes, the date makes it more real. Make the date meaningful, if possible - register for an event, plan a trip - even if super small.
Make sure your goal is small and includes subgoals Consider making your ONLY goal a super small goal so success is virtually guaranteed
Tell people about your goal Whether it's recruiting your spouse in your efforts or posting it to Facebook, telling other people about it makes it more real and helps you to stay accountable. Now not only are you doing it for you, but others might be asking you about how it's going and at the very least, might realize why you are making certain decisions and not try to derail your efforts.
Recruit others in your goal achievement process On that note, try to get those other people to help you. Family, friends, coworkers might be interested in your goal and you might just inspire someone else, too. For example, that friend with the open policy candy bowl might help you by cutting you off from your usual afternoon habit.
Celebrate every single success, even the tiniest ones This is the most important aspect of your accountability piece - ensure that you celebrate EVERY. SINGLE. GOAL. Even the smallest ones - driving past the drive-thru, skipping that coworker's candy bowl, losing half a pound and keeping it off - these are all super important milestones that will help to build healthy habits for the long-term.
If you need help writing goals for you, please contact me and we can set up a session to do so. If you are looking for a program that emphasizes goal setting, accountability, and consistency, consider one of my 3-Month Fitness Solution programs in which I build in special sessions just to assess, goal set, and plan, in addition to regular workouts (1, 2, or 3 times per week).
In good health,