Do you ever wonder why New Year’s Resolutions don’t stick? It’s the same reason you may be struggling to get over that final hurdle and reach your health and fitness goals. I see this all too often and the antidote is one simple word: AWARENESS. You see having awareness of what’s going on is your superpower. Most people have no idea what the missing link is, but once you do, you’ll become unstoppable!
Okay so what’s the missing link? Well it’s two things really.
- Relying on Motivation over Discipline.
- Falling into the “All or Nothing” Approach
When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions or starting a new Fitness regimen we are HIGHLY motivated. Which is why it’s easy to get started, wake up early and push during our training session. The problem is that at some point motivation will wear off. So the question is not what happens IF motivation is gone, but what happens WHEN motivation leaves.
If you don’t plan for this then you are going to end up like the millions of people every year who stop their new year’s resolutions after a month. Now how do we create discipline? Ultimately it’s by creating habits that stick. It’s getting to a point where workouts, eating healthy, recovering, etc become a part of your identity. It’s not just something you do, it’s who you are. It becomes automatic and just as natural as your morning coffee.
At this point I know what you are thinking; easier said than done. Before I give you tips on creating these habits that stick, this is a perfect segway to point number two: The “All or nothing” approach. It really starts with mindset. And the problem with the “All or nothing” approach is exactly what it seems, you either pass or fail. However life isn’t created that way. One workout is better than no workout!
Now the reason we often fall into the trap of thinking all or nothing is because when we get started with making changes we are highly motivated. So rather than thinking I’ll start working out two times a week or I’m going to start adding in more vegetables we say: “I’m going to workout 5 days a week for two hours” or “I’m not eating any sugar for the next month”. We have good intentions, but these are really challenging feats in our modern busy worlds.
And the thing is, habits are not created overnight. You could have a perfect week of training and eating, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to stick. Because when you have a “bad” day, and you will have a bad day, you’ll end up binging on all the sweets and completely skipping the workout. Then most likely the thought process shifts to: “today was a bad day, I might as well take the weekend off”, then “ well this weekend was off, so I’ll take the week off”. Which can lead to a month or longer where you skip training and stop eating well.
Then we start this entire cycle all over again by getting motivated, biting off more than we can chew, falling off the wagon, and taking too much time off. Before you know it a year or more passes by and you haven’t made a dent in your goals. And the only way to break this vicious cycle is to change your mindset and create habits that stick.
Instead of the “All or Nothing” approach adopts a new mindset = “Something is better than nothing”. This is synonymous with creating habits that stick. Think about your training regimen and start super small. This could look like going to the gym twice a week or taking a 10 minute walk every day. The key is finding consistency, which is why we want to start so small it seems too easy. Once you can do this automatically for a couple months then you could add a third day or make it a 20 minute walk.
Nutrition is the same way. Instead of quitting sugar cold turkey, start by drinking two extra glasses of water every day. This will keep you hydrated and help you feel fuller throughout the day. Once this is automatic, try eating more vegetables at every meal. When it comes to fitness and nutrition the key is making it sustainable. Diets are rarely sustainable for the long term which is why many people often gain weight shortly after finishing a successful diet program.
So remember that Discipline > Motivation and you’ve got to stop beating yourself up for missing one workout or falling off your nutrition plan. Give yourself some grace and get back on track for the next workout or meal. Just like one workout or healthy meal won’t make you healthy and fit, neither will skipping a training session or having a donut completely derail your progress. Consistency is your biggest tool to achieving success!