When it comes to making health changes, consistency is key. Whether it is making small changes to your eating habits or trying to exercise more, it’s the small efforts that add up over time that make all the difference.
Both in my own experience and the work I do with my clients I have found 5 mindsets that kill your consistency:
1. The all or nothing mindset:
This is one of the worst offenders when you are trying to be more consistent because it sets you up for failure. If you skip a workout then you feel that everything is over and you have failed yet again. Not only does it kill your self-esteem but also it stops progress in its tracks. You wait until Monday to start over yet again. The same goes for your nutrition or any other healthy habit you are trying to take on. When we are in the all or nothing mindset we give up completely rather than figuring out what went wrong and how we can fix it. It puts in in a state of mind of being defeated. No good ever comes from it.
Instead try to focus on moving forward and not letting the behavior ruin everything. It was one meal, one workout, one moment and you have many more moments in your week to make more supportive choices. Instead of letting it all go, figure out what went wrong, how you can prevent it next time and what steps you will take to move forward with your week.
2. Making too many changes too fast
If you are in a rush and lacking in patience with yourself, it is common to try to fix everything at once. The problem with this is that it can feel like your life is being turned upside down. You start to feel restricted and that everything is too hard. It can be exhausting to try to take on exercise 5 days a week, eat every meal healthily and be a perfect person overnight. Change takes time! Taking on small changes to your lifestyle slowly over time will actually get you to your goal faster because you won’t get overwhelmed and give up!
3. Look at the bigger picture
If you get too granular with your healthy lifestyle planning then you can find that your focus is just on the food or the exercise rather than the behavior changes that need to happen to improve your habits. Being overweight is a product of nutrition and health choices. Nutrition and health choices are a product of years of lifestyle habits that build up over time. Just starting a diet and being told what to eat is like putting a band aid on the problem. It doesn’t deal with the habits that surround your lifestyle choices. Why do you do what you do?
Try to explore the reasons why you engage in the habits that you want to change. Changing the habits will improve your consistency!
4. Not having a plan for the days when life gets in the way or bad days.
When the going is good we feel like we are on fire! Nailing our workouts and feeling like we can take on the world. BUT we all have bad days and busy days, times where it seems impossible to keep going with our healthy lifestyle. If we don’t plan for these days then we are going to feel lost and like we have failed when we can’t keep up our momentum.
It is really important to have a plan for the bad days. I like to have a bare minimum list, plan for self-care. Decide what your priorities will be on a bad day. Fitness OR nutrition for example. Decide what you CAN do and don’t sweat the rest!
5. Trying to be perfect all the time
I always aim for progress not perfection! It is not normal to eat exactly the same amount every day or never have a day off exercise! We can’t be 100% all the time but when we constantly criticize ourselves all the time by thinking “I should have done that” and engage in negative self-talk it really isn’t productive. Not every day can be better than yesterday but it’s how you deal with it and move forward that will make or break your consistency. Consistency is about planning for improvements over time, a little each day. There will be days where you are perfect and days where you are less perfect but as long as you are making progress then focus on that!
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