Trust the process
Don't get too caught up in the numbers day-to-day, the key to achieving your health and performance goals is consistency.
It's easy to get caught up in the numbers. You might obsess over the scale every day or worry about exactly how much weight is on the bar each workout, hoping to see progress every day, but the truth is change takes time, and progress is rarely linear. Keeping your end goal in mind is important for motivation, but it’s trusting the process and focusing on the day-to-day activities that will get you there.
Consistency is king
So what does this look like in practice? First, make a plan that is realistic for your lifestyle. It’s better to start simply and add to it than to start with too much and be unable to achieve it. This might mean working out three times a week instead of six or setting a goal to eat more vegetables instead of cutting out entire food groups. The key is to make a plan that you can realistically stick to … and then stick to it!
Once you have a plan, the most important thing is to be consistent. Don't keep changing it just because you’re not seeing your desired results quickly enough. Stick to it as best as you can, and trust that the small changes you make over time will add up to big results.
Track what you’re doing, every day
You’re not always going to feel motivated. Your overarching goal, regardless of the specific change you are trying to affect, is to develop the discipline to stay committed regardless of how motivated you feel. Your mentality should be to accomplish your intended actions 100% of the time, because life happens, and realistically, you’re often going to reach 80-90% completion even with that mindset. You have your plan; don’t talk yourself into doing it, don’t convince yourself that you should stick to it because of your goals, just go down the list and do it.
An effective way to do this is to track the daily activities that are part of your plan. By tracking your daily activities, you hold yourself accountable and identify areas where you might be falling short. It allows you to reflect on your daily habits and make any necessary adjustments to your plan to ensure you're on track to achieve your goals.
I don’t just mean keeping a mental checklist—literally, track your actions and cross them off as you complete them (another perk: it’s oddly satisfying!). This should be easy and fast, ideally completed in a few seconds. I’ve tried all kinds of approaches, but the best so far is a list of my actions on a whiteboard in the kitchen that I check off (we’re working on something big at Realize Me to support this process, more on that soon).
Progress takes time
On a weekly basis, I like to assess how well I did at sticking to my plan. There is something that feels really good about having a bunch of checkboxes that have been completed. If I didn’t do as well that week as I would have liked, I resolve to do better in the coming week.
I tend to look at trends on a monthly basis, if not quarterly. Again, it’s important not to change your plan repeatedly because you’re not seeing your desired changes within the span of a few days or weeks, but if you’re not making progress towards your goals over a few months, re-assess your approach. Don’t stay with a plan that isn’t working.
The key to achieving your health and fitness goals is to trust the process and focus on the day-to-day habits that will get you there. Change takes time, but with a good realistic plan and consistency, you can achieve the results you want.
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