In the last post, I explained how making common dieting mistakes, will keep you dieting forever rather than succeeding at permanent weight loss. Today I want to boil it down to really the number one thing you need to do to succeed at ANYTHING ever in your life, weight loss included. Weight loss, especially!
The thing that almost everyone says to me is that they want to be the kind of person to whom eating healthy and exercising comes naturally. But if you look at the people to whom it DOES come naturally, all you will see is that they practice a series of habits and have been doing so regularly for so long that it has become second nature. That’s it. They are not stronger than you or better than you or more self-disciplined or whatever. They just have practiced their desired habit over and over and over.
For example, I started exercising in the mornings 14 years ago when I began my weight loss journey. It was really hard at first to establish that habit! But as you can imagine, after FOURTEEN years of practicing it pretty nearly every single day, I don’t even have to think about it anymore. I wake up and I work out. Yes, I still get all kinds of mind monkeys trying to talk me out of it, but because it is so ingrained in who I am and what I do, it generally just happens despite the resistance. Plus, I don’t negotiate with monkeys. EVER.
When you think back over past weight loss attempts, you probably remember that you were so on track for awhile. You were just burnin’ it up! Staying on plan with food, going to the gym every day… And then one day you missed the gym. The next day you fell off the wagon with food. Hey, it happens to everyone! But for the person with the ingrained, consistent habit, or accountability system, picking herself back up and getting right back on track is likely to happen pretty quickly. For the person who is lacking in consistency and accountability, well, that can be the end of the diet right there.
So, how can you build consistency? Basically by deciding on one or two habits you want to pursue, doing them over and over, and tracking your results somewhere (like a spreadsheet or planner).
But do you know what works even better? Hiring a coach. Seriously. I know that for me, I could never have become consistent with my healthy habits alone. I needed a coach to report to – someone to hold me accountable, as well as help me pick appropriate habits (people tend to over-reach, then crash and burn).