Consistency is Key to Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

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A picture of me after an early morning workout

When it comes to diet and exercise goals, many people attempt to seek out a source of motivation or inspiration. They assume that a motivation source can kick-start their efforts and then continually inspire them to get to the gym or eat a healthy meal. However, it is a mistake to assume that you can find a source of continual inspiration to keep your efforts on track. Motivation is necessary, and inspiration is helpful, but even more important is consistency, which is what will keep you exercising when you’ve hit a plateau and the scale hasn’t budged in weeks. Persistence will keep you packing healthy lunches for your work week even when you’re busy. Consistency works because it forms habits, and being healthy is easy when it’s a habit. One of the things I use to keep motivated is my Onnit tpc packs. I make sure to take them every day and it gives me a little bit of a routine to keep. 

A picture of me after an early morning workout

Forming a healthy habit is easier said than done. Believe me, it took forever to get on track when I was training for a half marathon. It can be challenging to stay consistent when work or home life is stressful and busy. Goals can seem completely unobtainable when setbacks happen, or you slip off track for a couple of days or weeks. It can be disheartening to continue your efforts when results are slow. However, despite all of this, there are practical tips that can help you form healthy habits.

First of all, you may want to think about changing your goals. So often your goals are broad and difficult to achieve, such as “I want to lose 20 pounds” or “I want to run a marathon.” While these goals are laudable, they will take a significant amount of time and dedication to achieve. Your journey towards your ideal weight or fitness level is likely going to take longer than you anticipate, which can be discouraging.

However, if you make a series of smaller goals, you are less likely to get discouraged. For example, instead of making your immediate goal running a marathon, your goal could be running your first 5k race, or just going for a jog four days this week. If your goal is to improve your diet, you could alter your goal to eating clean meals for a week, bringing a healthy lunch to work, or cutting out your daily sugar-laden coffee.

My home gym equipment scattered after a workout

These small goals are much more doable and when practiced consistently, will still lead you toward achieving those big, lofty goals in the future. Additionally, the feeling of pride you’ll have after reaching a goal can help you stay motivated.

It’s also important to remember to practice balance in your life. You may find yourself falling into the trap of eating healthy and exercising regularly all week. Then when Friday rolls around, you are feeling so deprived that you indulge all weekend. This also tends to happen to us during the holidays. Weight gain during the holiday season is one of the biggest hurdles you have to overcome to remain consistent. These indulgences inevitably lead to feelings of guilt, and you vow to start over again on Monday.

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If you find yourself stuck in this cycle, plan the days you can indulge moderately and without the guilt. For example, you might try eating healthy meals all week and leave one night open to order takeout, eat at your favorite restaurant, or enjoy a slice or two of pizza. Include a small amount of chocolate or wine in your diet plans. The critical thing to remember is to maintain balance. If you plan the amount and frequency of your indulgences, you are less likely to go overboard and feel guilty.

Finally, the most important thing you can do to form healthy habits is to evaluate where you may be giving in to temptation and take steps to change. For example, if you find yourself unable to resist the doughnuts and bagels in your office’s kitchen then keep healthy snacks at your desk so you can avoid wandering through the kitchen when you are hungry.

If you find yourself reaching for convenience foods at home after a busy workday, plan a meal prep session for the weekend so that you will have healthy food ready to go. If you find yourself eating for comfort, try another form of self-care such as going for a walk, taking a relaxing bath, or buying yourself flowers.

Always staying motivated to reach your fitness goals is not possible. However, by setting short-range targets to change the way you measure your success, by practicing balance and planning your indulgences and by taking steps to avoid temptation will help you make being healthy a habit. And once you form a pattern, it is difficult to break. Once you are eating a healthy diet, you may find you don’t crave or even like junk food anymore. You also will find yourself dreading exercise less, and perhaps even enjoying a good sweat session. By valuing consistency over motivation, you will be able to form healthy habits and reach your fitness goals.

 

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