Staying Consistent On Any Regimen

written by   Nwando Eze   |   Productivity
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When we adopt a new regimen, a New Year’s resolution to eat less sweets or exercise daily for instance, we get excited. Our energy is through the roof. We’re so excited at how committed we’ll be and the results we’ll achieve. We religiously stick with the program for the first 2 weeks. Then reality sets in. Other “priorities” sneak in. The goal starts to change from daily to 3 times a week to twice a week. Then maybe every other week. Eventually, we go a whole week or two without doing it. We start to feel guilty we’ve fallen off the band wagon again. We start to doubt that we have the ability to ever accomplish this goal. I call this the cycle of inconsistency- which has 6 stages: excitement, reality hits, guilt, self-doubt, falling off the band wagon, realization of the possibilities, then back to excitement. Each stage is an opportunity to redirect back to the excitement stage.
Many folks struggle with staying consistent with a regimen. We would all accomplish our life’s goals early and often if we could figure out how to stay consistent daily.
Here are 3 tips to redirecting to the excitement stage

1) Forgive yourself:

Every day is a new day. Instead of approaching your journey thinking every day will be perfect, go into it with the knowledge that you will have challenges. There will be days emergencies pop up that prevent you from going to the gym, where you “cheated” on your no-sugar diet because you had a slice of cake to celebrate a birthday. Or just some days you just don’t feel like it. Acknowledge these moments when they happen as part of the journey. Forgive yourself quickly. Know that tomorrow is a new day, a new start and a new opportunity to cycle back to the excitement phase. You can miss one day. Try not to miss 2 days in a row. And even if you do, it’s ok. Forgive yourself and cycle back to the excitement stage.

2) Every little bit counts:

This point is especially helpful on days you just don’t feel like engaging in the activity. Perhaps you committed to exercising 30 minutes a day. Then winter comes. And it’s a snowy, dark morning outside as you are cuddled up nice and warm in bed. The last thing you want to do is venture out into the cold to do anything, much less exercise. Maybe the thought of 30 minutes exercise is not enough to get you out of bed. But the thought of just 15 minutes might. It is better to get out of bed for 15 minutes, or even just 10 minutes, of exercise that day than to do nothing at all. This counts. Acknowledge your efforts, however small, on these days. In so doing you are building your consistency habit. This habit is more important than the act itself. Once you’ve developed the consistency habit, it can be applied to every area of your life, not just exercise. Remember, building consistency is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be challenges along the way. The goal is the journey and staying committed over the long term.

3) Be realistic:

When I commit to a goal the excitement of the moment leads me to overcommit. I’ll commit to exercising 7 days a week. Or I’ll commit to removing all sugar from my diet knowing I have a major sweet tooth. Committing to these lofty goals are a setup for failure. As life happens and we can’t meet the commitment, guilt, disappointment and regret set in. Then we abandon the goal altogether. It is better to set ourselves up for success by setting realistic goals. Then build upon them as we achieve small wins. Give yourself permission to adjust the goal up or down as life hits you as long as you stay committed to building the habit of consistency. Focus on the journey instead of the goal. For instance, instead of committing to avoiding sugar every day this year and quitting 2 weeks in, commit to avoiding it 3 days a week. A more realistic goal will prove to be more sustainable. By the end of the year, you would have avoided 156 days of sugar versus 14 days if you overcommitted.

Triple C Action Pearls

1) Forgive yourself
2) Every bit counts
3) Be realistic
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Hi, I’m Nwando Eze a board-certified physician and Certified Physician Executive with a Masters in Public Health and Business Administration. An accomplished author and speaker, I’m passionate about nurturing early careerist into young leaders, coaching leaders into becoming the best, well-rounded versions of themselves, improving justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in leadership and helping leaders live a well- rounded life.

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