There’s a very famous quote which says, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle said that way back when (like before Christ) and it rings just as true today as it did in ancient Greece. The truth is that we are not in control of most of our actions; we are simply slaves to our habits – and our habits will either give us the results we want, or hold us back from the life we could be living.
Normally, I’d take this topic on habits into a weight loss setting. Creating habits around the foods you eat, your exercise, and your sleep is a great way to ensure that you see physical improvement. But what if our mental health is holding us back from even beginning to create those habits?
Have you ever set too big of a goal?
I know I have set too big of a goal before. It’s inspiring in the moment to say something completely outside of your reach – you get a dopamine rush just from setting a goal. It is a taste of the success you want, but when it is too far outside of your reach, you simply never begin.
Rather than trying to set boring goals, because no one gets excited about boring goals, just break your goals down into very simple steps. For example, instead of saying, “I am going to lose thirty pounds by June,” and ending your process with the goal, break down the goal into easily accomplished steps. These steps could look like:
- Begin walking 10 minutes after dinner each night.
- Drink a glass of water with every meal and snack.
- Eat fruit and/or vegetables with every meal.
- Sleep at least 7 hours each night.
When you’ve graduated from that list and are craving more to get to your goal, you can make a new list:
- Look up different workout types and try out a gym with a friend.
- Include protein at every meal.
- Schedule an activity outdoors each weekend with your spouse/family.
And so on, and so on. You get the picture. Here’s the thing, however: if you never show up to step one on that list, you’re never going to make it to step three, four, five, or your new list.
The key to all your goals always boils down to just showing up.
Take off the responsibility hat for a second. You don’t have to fix your nutrition completely in one night. You don’t have to go to the gym seven days a week, four weeks a month, twelve months a year. You don’t have to suddenly start sleeping eight hours per night and develop a meditation practice.
All you need to do is show up in the right amount of consistency for your goals. For each and every person, there is a different definition of consistency. Your coach should work with you to define the correct program which will help you to be consistent. Consistent in your workouts; consistent in your nutrition; consistent in your self-care and mental health.
If going to the gym five days per week gives you the feeling that you can eat anything you want, congratulations, you don’t need to be at the gym five days per week. Regardless of who you are, eating whatever you want will not end well. You will negatively impact your health. Similarly, if eating clean at every meal throughout the week makes you feel deprived and leads to binge eating everything in sight on Saturday, eating clean throughout the week is the wrong plan because it has made your consistency fall apart. If you hate meditation and doing it every day for 20 minutes makes you resent healthy living, 20 minutes is too long. Start with 1 minute and build from there. Do what you can do consistently, and work on leveling up over time.
The name of the game is showing up. Just show up consistently, and your results happen naturally.