You've probably experience missing a few training sessions here and there, or having one too many highly-processed take-out meals, or sleeping less than five hours because you wanted to finish that last episode on Netflix. Relatable, right? I know because it happens to me too.
These instances that happen occasionally are completely fine. Realistically, most of us have different prioririties in the various phases of our lives anyway. However, if your current lifestyle routine consistently gets in the way of your health and fitness goal(s), then you might want to step back and reasses your situation in three aspects.
#1 Starting with the big one, your purpose.
Why are you looking to lose that 5kg? Why do you want to fit into that dress? Why do you want to be ready for that beach trip? Why do I want to be leaner and have more defined body parts?
Is it because you want to improve your self confidence? Attract more positive attention from the same, opposite sex, or special somebody? Help with your mental state because you're sick and tired of being sick and tired? Is it to have enough energy to play with your kids or grandkids and not just watch them?
If your answer isn't an emotionally-invested one or it doesn't make you feel vunerable for expressing your true purpose, go deeper, and ask yourself 'why' a few more times. For meaningful change to occur, you have to dig and eventually strike a nerve. A reason that's emotionally-charged. That's what you need to look for and attach it to your goal.
#2 Follow up with your level of readiness, willingess, and ability.
Once you've sorted out your true deep purpose, gauge your Readiness, Willingness, and Abilty. This is where expectation management kicks in. I think we can all admit we expect a lot of from ourselves, that we want best results in a short peroid of time, but most of the time in reality, our expectations and level of effort don't match up.
We want abs in four weeks. We want model-level physiques in three-months or less while only being able to train once or twice per week. Fuled by processed foods and incosistent protein intake. These transformations are on the far end of the spectrum that requires exceptionally high amounts of effort and dedication to achieve. We're talking six days a week of training, maybe double sessions a day, four to six high protein meals, and eight to nine hours of quality sleep daily, all consistenly done in the span of a year or two.
Now I'm not saying that it's not doable in that time-frame, just not for the most of us who are natural, have a 9-5 job, a partner, and/or kids. That said, it's not your fault that you have this type of expectation. The media has portrayed transformations to be fast and easy when it's actually not. For all of us average Joes and Janes, finding a sustainable pace and being able to stick with it for the long run is the secret sauce to success. I know it's not sexy, but it is what it is.
To recalibrate your expectations and to start properly, ask youself, "Am I ready to do this? Is this right time? Can I commit all these right now?" If you anwered yes, then you're ready to begin.
Then move onto, "What am I willing to prioritize/sacrifice? How much effort do I want to put in? Is it practical for me to do so?" Identify the amount of resoures you are willing to utilize; this includes your time, money, and effort level.
Finally, "Do I have the skills to do this on my own? Am I resourceful enough to figure this out? Can I train on my own or cook the high protein meals needed?" If you don't have the ability, there are always professional services that can help with that; personal coaching and meal plan subscribtions.
#3 Lastly, hold yourself accountable.
Equally as important as the first two points, but ofen neglected. There's a saying that goes, 'If it's not schduled, it's not real'. It means that if you don't block off time in your day, either in the form of penning it down in your physical planner or online calendar, it's not going to happen. Levaraging on scheduling tools is one way to bring clarity to your day as you now have more structure. You now know when to do what and how often.
Alternatively, you can turn to extrinsic mediums like having an accountability buddy, or as I like to call it, accountabuddy. This can be your partner, friend, family member, or even a fitness coach because sometimes all we need is someone to be there for us as moral support.
Your support group can either be your training partners or a fitness coach guiding you through your training sessions. Regardless of the mediums you choose, having accoutability in the form of self-regulated schedules or partner-based ones is crucial for you in sustaining your habits.
In short, maintaining your fitness habits requires you to have strong emotional purpose attached them, a well-managed expectation that covers your level of readiness, willingess, and ability, and lastly a way to hold yourself accountable. If you have made it this far, try taking a minute to identify the above mentioned points. You may just unlock that secret to sustaining your habits! ;) Or maybe just a nice way to reframe your goal setting. Either way, it's a win-win.
Till the next one, stay safe and mindful.