A strategy for consistency
Updated: Jun 14, 2022
Consistency is something that so many of us struggle with. We start a new habit like diet or exercise, we are 100% in for a few weeks, and we gradually veer off track until we decide to give up on it all together. Then we label ourselves a failure. If we’re consistent about one thing, it’s the negative self-talk! But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a strategy to being consistent and some things to consider along the way.
What consistency does NOT mean. It does not mean perfection. Consistency comes with mistakes. Stop expecting the road for better health and wellness to be smooth. Stop deciding that if you can’t do it perfectly, you’re a failure. Let yourself off the hook here. Don’t play the blame game with yourself and simply accept that you will make mistakes.
Why we struggle with consistency. Two reasons: capacity and resources. Some days we lack the capacity and/or the resources to stick with our plan. There will be a time when you just don’t have the emotional or physical energy to do what you need to do. You’re having a bad day. You failed to plan. You are dealing with too much “drama” in your head that day to make the decision to adhere to your plan. There will be times that you can’t stick to the plan due to outside forces. The meeting went long. The friend showed up unexpectedly. The fish you planned for dinner turned sour. Circumstances sometimes change. Give yourself a little grace. Instead of knocking yourself down, get up, brush yourself off, and decide what you can do the next day to get back at it.
How we become more consistent. There are a couple of things we can do to help us be more consistent.
1 Install an accountability system. Having an accountability partner can make ALL the difference in consistency. Some days it’s easy to talk ourselves out of sticking with our plan, but when we know someone else is counting on us, we’re more likely to show up for them, and thus, ourselves.
2 Pay attention to the positive feedback we get when we stick to our plan. We are quick to dwell on the negative self-talk when we fail to follow our plan, but that’s the wrong focus when we are aiming for consistency. If we actively pay attention to the reward we get from sticking to our plan, that makes us feel good. And when we feel good, we’re more likely to do it again the next day.
What to be careful about. If you’re trying to be consistent, the single biggest thing you need to watch out for is that “all or nothing’ thinking. All or nothing thinking will shut consistency down faster than you can say “consistency”. When you catch yourself asking yourself “why can’t I do it? Why can’t I be consistent? What’s wrong with me that I can’t stick with my plan?” on a day that you stumble, stop. These questions do not help you be more consistent. These negative questions are asking your brain to find negative answers, and they keep you focused on the past. You can’t do a thing to change what happened, so allow your brain to rehash it.
How to regroup. Instead of posing negative questions that don’t make you feel good about yourself, ask yourself constructive questions. Ask things like “what can I do tomorrow to set myself up for success? How can I plan better? What can I tell myself that motivates me to get back to it?”. “What” and “how’ questions are useful questions that ask your brain to go and find useful solutions. They are also questions that are present and future focused.
Consistency is hard because of all the tension we create in our minds. We get stuck in negative self-talk that is paralyzing. We tell ourselves stories about why we can’t reach our goal. We get trapped in “all or nothing” thinking. Consistency is about the ability to come back to ourselves and treat ourselves with compassion. When we can nurture ourselves, we feel good. And feeling good is motivating. The road to better health, better fitness, better anything is paved by consistency, so stop expecting perfection and put your efforts towards applying a strategy to gain consistency.
If you are struggling with staying consistent and need some help getting on track and staying on track, book a 60 minute session with certified life coach Amy Nighbert HERE.