5 Steps To Consistency
With only 20 percent of New Year's resolutions still going by February, it's clear that sticking to a new habit is hard.
"I know how to be healthy, but I just struggle to stick with it." Sound familiar?
Don't worry, you're not alone. Lack of consistency, along with not enough energy, is the most common complaint. Ironically, if we were more consistent with our healthy habits, we'd have more energy!
In fact, nailing the skill of consistency may be more important than learning about diet, exercise or mindfulness - because if we can't stick to something, it has no value.
I started seeing results, feeling better and, perhaps most importantly, loving my new habits. The more they fitted my life and who I was, the more I enjoyed them and was able to stick to them.
Take the time to get real with yourself. What kind of exercise feels good to you? What healthy foods do you enjoy? What's doable with your schedule?Some simple tricks coupled with a perspective shift helped me find practices that I love to do, and keep doing. I hope they help you, too, whatever your health and fitness aims are.
1. Start with mindset and actions follow
Our actions reflect our beliefs. So, if we want to change our habits, we must start with creating a mindset that matches the way we want to live. So often, the beliefs we have about wellbeing don't tally up with the actions we take in life. As long as this is the case, we'll end up self-sabotaging and struggle with change. What attitude do you need to inspire the actions you desire? What limiting beliefs stop you? Create an affirmation that supports your good habit, and each time the limiting belief comes up, repeat the positive affirmation. Over time you'll change your beliefs and automatically your behaviours will alter, too.
2. Be real with yourself
For years I tried to fit into someone else's idea of health and felt like a failure when I couldn't live up to these expectations or get results.That changed when I tailored my practices to suite my constitution and got real about what I could and wanted to do. Voila!
3. Use old habits to trigger new ones
Ever wanted to start a new habit, like meditation, but then just forgotten to do it?
That's because our brain functions on triggers and sequences, so it makes sense to use old habits to trigger new patterns. Rather than simply saying, "From now on, I'm going to meditate every night," you need to be specific and couple it with something you already do every night.
So you could instead make it, "After I brush my teeth I'll meditate for 10 minutes."
We rely on the consistency of the old habit (brushing our teeth) to trigger the new habit (meditation). Eventually, the sequence becomes routine and meditation takes the form of another consistent habit.
4. Replace the bad habits
All habits, good and bad, have a benefit.
That's right, your bad habits have a benefit, otherwise you wouldn't do them. The key to quitting bad habits is replacing them with something that gives you the same benefit without the negative impact. For example, a glass of wine every night has the benefit of relaxation after a hard day of work. But so does a short guided meditation, a walk or yoga - without the dehydration or the hangover in the morning.
5. Plan to mess up and try again
James Clear, author of self-help book Transform Your Habits, found that people who aim for perfection are more likely to quit early because as soon as they slip up they feel as if there's no point continuing.
"The most successful people in the world slip up on their habits," Clear says. "What separates them isn't their willpower or motivation, it's their ability to get back on track." So let go of perfection, and keep getting back on that health horse!
An analogy that is likely to resonate with all of us is that we're highly unlikely to cancel a holiday if there's a delay in the flights. We'd persist and accomplish. The reference here is that it is a journey towards a healthier and happier you..So a little setback infact makes the achievement even sweeter.
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