To get better at something or to achieve your goals the word consistent comes up a lot. You need to do it often because you cannot start, stop then start. Or start, avoid it for a while and then get back to it and expect to get better or reach your personal goal any time soon.
Being consistent is important.
Before we go any further, here are a couple of definitions of the word consistent.
1. Constantly adhering to the same principles, course, form, etc.:
2. Agreeing or accordant; compatible; not self-contradictory:
As it relates to exercise, take note of the bold words. You must stay the course and it must be compatible with you and your goals. For example, if you want to lose 10 pounds but don’t reduce your calorie intake, that’s neither staying the course or compatible.
Now don’t confuse the word consistent with perfection. Perfection is near impossible and almost always hard to attain when it comes to your health and fitness. Because life and being human takes care of that. There will be days where it’s not going to happen and that’s okay.
Taking small steps on those days and not missing two-three exercise days in a row is key. When you get thrown off the horse, you get right back on again. Nothing can be done about the past, but something can be done about the future. Think Yoda would like this?
Anyhow, here’s a few ways to get more consistent with your exercise if this is an issue for you. Let’s dive in.
Some are better than others and hold themselves accountable. I have a coach who writes my exercise programs and a wife that keeps me in line, most of the time. So, I have inbuilt accountability. If I was to hold myself accountable, it’s a 50/50 proposition. But when someone else helps keep you on the straight and narrow you’re more likely to behave.
This is a major reason personal trainers stay in business. Because exercise is free, and information is widely able on the interwebs. But when clients pay money and schedule their sessions, they’ve just generated some accountability.
So, whether you hire a coach, tell your friends and family what you’re doing, or you train with a friend, find a way to hold yourself accountable. It helps with your consistency.
2. Skin In The Game
Following up from point one, when people pay money for a service like personal training, they’ve got some skin in the game. They either don’t want to lose their money or they’ve made an investment in themselves and want to get the most out of it.
A couple of other ways to generate some skin is to either make it hurt or reward yourself. For example, make a bet with your spouse that you will lose 10 pounds in six weeks. If you do, she or he will cook dinner for a whole week. If you don’t ‘win’, you will cook for two weeks.
Make a bet with a friend, spouse, or co-worker (if they’re game) if you don’t make your fitness goal you will give $100 to your favorite charity. If you do make your goal, they will give $100.
Betting on yourself to succeed will put some skin in the game will help you gain some consistency.
3. Do Something You Enjoy
People who like to lift weights, sweat, strain, and feel uncomfortable are in the minority. Some tolerate and make time for exercise because they know it’s good for them but don’t derive any enjoyment from it. And the rest either avoid or do it rarely.
There are a couple of ways to go about doing something you enjoy. First, pick a movement you enjoy whether it is walking, yoga, Zumba, dancing, martial arts etc. and stick with it. It may take you some time to find something you enjoy. But when you do stick with it.
Because when you like something (even Zumba), you’re more likely to stick with it.
Another way is to habit stack. Habit stacking simply is pairing something you’re not a fan of but need to do (like exercise) with something that you like to do (insert favorite activity here), But here is the deal you’ll make with yourself. You’ll exercise first and then as a reward yourself with your favorite activity later.
Then you’ll hopefully get more consistent as performing this over time will give you (hopefully) better habits.
Consistency is important, especially when it comes to exercise. Because the health benefits derived from exercise don’t just come from a six-week shred but by moving for life. I leave you with this quote that sums it up.
“You don`t stop dancing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop dancing.”
If you need more consistency with your exercise, I have a program HERE that can help.