We all only have 24 hours in a day. So when work gets busy it tends to squeeze out the already limited time we have for healthy habits.
You might quickly notice that your healthy routines have gone awry, and do something about it. Or, it might be after months of putting your health and fitness lower down the priority list that you suddenly feel winded when running for a train, or you struggle to keep up with the kids.
I’ll start on Monday. I’ll be good. I’ve got the perfect exercise and nutrition plan to follow.
The Skill Of Pausing
There are two issues here. Starting fresh after you lose your way is a really comforting thought. After all, right now I have just had a hard day and I could really do with that wine and chocolate!
The thing is Monday never comes.
There is never a right time to start. Whether it’s tomorrow, Monday, next week, or even next year, hitting that imaginary pause button gives you some sense of relief.
In the long run though, the pause-button mentality only builds the skill of pausing.
The Skill Of Short Term Health And Fitness
Listen, I get it.
Trying to improve your health and fitness habits while you’re in the thick of it feels like too much to take on when you’re under chronic stress / looking for a job / in a demanding job / going on holiday / caring for aging parents / raising small children (delete as appropriate).
It feels like the obvious solution is to wait until we can commit 100% effort to getting fit an healthy, and then really go for it for that 21-day this and 90-day that. After all, what adult has more than 90 days to focus on their fitness goals with an all-out effort?
So what does this habit of being ‘on it’ for a few weeks, and forgetting about it for weeks and months teach us? The skill of getting fit within a very short (and completely non-representative) period of your life.
Just Start – No Need To Be The Perfect Time
A more helpful skill to build will be the skill of getting fit (or staying fit) in the midst of a normal, complicated, “how it really is” sort of life.
You know what you need to do, and you don’t have a knowledge deficit when it comes to this. Rather, shifting your mind away from an all or nothing approach to your health and fitness goals might be what you need to do.
What would happen if you consistently aimed to be just a little bit better, instead of looking for the next big promise, the latest celebrity fad or fancy supplement, and committing to it perfecty for a few weeks?
I’ll tell you what I know from my experience and that of my clients I work with.
Perfectionism never works. The all or nothing approach tends to end up with nothing.
Consistency pays off in the long game.
How Consistent Do You Need To Be?
You may be aware that I teamed up with Precision Nutrition to offer the life changing ProCoach programme. PN recently recently ran the numbers to see exactly what kind of results would be obtained with different adherence to the programme*.
Here’s What Happens
Just Putting In Some Effort, No Matter How Small, Changes Things
Clients who are less than 50% consistent—but stay in the program for the full year—wind up losing between 5-6% of their total body weight.
Sticking To The Programme 50-79% Of The Time Makes A Big Difference.
The balance between a half-hearted attempt and getting results. Not only do you not need to be “perfect” to get results, you don’t even need to be “pretty good.”
Adhering To Over 50% Of Your Health And Lifestyle Improvements Might Be Easier Than You Think
Even super-dramatic changes don’t require 100% consistency.
Data show that being 80%-89% consistent with your nutrition and lifestyle habits can result in significant and, more importantly, sustained losses in body weight and waist size.
Circumstances Didn’t Determine What People Were Able To Achieve
Just making some effort, however inconsistent and imperfect, can make you feel better about how your body looks, feels and moves.
If you feel that ‘now’ isn’t the right time, then take the pressure off. You don’t need to be you best self all on day one. Start building trust and confidence in yourself by taking one tiny step today. Track your consistency and this will build your conficence as you add more steps.
Before you know it you’ll be well on the way to sustained health and performance improvements as well as looking and feeling better.
Ready For Help?
Are you fed up of short term periods of focusing on your personal health and fitness goals, followed by periods of neglecting it all together?
I’m a Precision Nutrition coach and personal trainer. I help busy professionals find time in their schedule for healthy habits, so they can finally get their health under control.
If you’re ready to take a sustainable approach to looking, feeling and performing at your best, and you’d like to learn more about the best way to do this, then I’m happy to help. You’re welcome to request a discovery call here.
*Thanks to Precision Nutrition for crunching the numbers and the data above.