The Key to Achieving Health Goals?
Ditch perfection, commit to consistency
In terms of health & wellness goals, it can be easy to get sidetracked.
Despite all of our good intentions, the simple fact of the matter is that most of us will inevitability become derailed at one point or another, and this is precisely the moment many of us quit.
University of Scranton research suggests that only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions and goals. This means that 92% (of those who set resolutions) don’t stick with it.
How can we be among the 8% who stay the course and achieve our health goals?
As a transformation coach, I can tell you the key is to accept imperfection and to commit — and then continue to recommit again and again and again. Taking small action steps consistently over time is what will help us achieve our goals.
It’s often said that starting a new health routine is the hardest part, but I don’t find this to be true. It’s the starting again, after we’ve fallen off track, that’s actually the hardest part — yet it’s the most critical piece. It’s what will put us on the path to success once and for all.
Here, three motivation tips to keep us on track:
1. Think Consistent, Not Perfect.
Don’t fall for perfectionism. When it comes to reaching our goals, perfectionist tendencies do not serve us — consistency does. In fact, perfectionism is simply procrastination neatly packaged and all tied up with a pretty bow. It tricks us into delaying our goals until we think we can do things “perfectly.” And, we know where this is going…nowhere. Why? Because we don’t start when we’ve been fooled by perfectionism.
So, do whatever it takes to get back on the horse (and, remember, it doesn’t have to be pretty.) It’s more important to take small (imperfect) action steps more often rather than one perfect step once in a while. As counterintuitive as this sounds, go ahead and phone it in if you have to, but don’t stop.
Staying the course requires that we put ourselves in action — and make the commitment to keep putting ourselves in action. (An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion…) The trick to staying in motion is to commit to consistency, not perfection. Make the promise to start again every single time motivation and willpower dips.
2. The Triple A: Action + Accountability = Achieve
Accountability is often linked to health and wellness success, specifically the long-term viability of achieving and maintaining a health goal. University of Scranton research indicates that interpersonal strategies increase the long-term chances of keeping a New Year’s resolution (beyond six months).
Accountability, undoubtedly, helps to ensure we stay in action mode — consistently taking small steps toward achieving our goal, as discussed in the first tip — and helps to keep us in action for the long haul.
Additionally, research supports that the simple act of sharing our goals, also makes us more accountable.
Simply stated, accountability keeps us in action, and consistent action is what helps us achieve our goals. Action + Accountability = Achieve.
So, partner up — find an accountability partner (or the appropriate coach) to put the pressure on when it’s need most.
I personally and professionally have experienced that coaching is among the fastest paths to transformation. Working with an objective partner is often the quickest, most effective method to identify blind spots, course correct habitual patterns and to get results. While having a loved one or friend as an “accountability buddy” may seem convenient, keep in mind that friends and family often think they know what’s best for us, when that may not be the case. There’s a reason why every single professional athlete and many of the most successful business leaders out there have coaches — it’s because it works.
3. Mindful Daily Check-ins and The ‘Calendar Rule’
Harvard psychologists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert determined that people spend 46.9% of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing. While the researchers ultimately made a correlation between mind-wandering and levels of unhappiness in their study, for the context of this article and in regard to habits, let’s consider the relevance of this statistic: People spend approximately 47% of their waking hours in daydreams — essentially on autopilot — and not in the present moment.
In other words, we’re allowing our habitual patterns to run the show for literally half of our day.
Many of us find it difficult to add new health habits to our day, simply because we struggle with time management. The fact that we’re seemingly on autopilot for a significant part of our day may factor into that ‘ lost track of time’ feeling. So, how can we become more aware of how we’re spending our day and more consistent in terms of implementing health routines?
Mindful check-ins (scheduled with a phone alert several times a day) will help us to assess our patterns. When the phone alert goes off, pause and ask the following three questions:
- What am I doing?
- Why am I doing this?
- Should I be doing this now?
Over time we’ll become aware of the distractions that are not serving our daily to-dos (and are wasting precious time that could be devoted to our goals).
Another time management rule is to schedule anything related to our health goals (grocery shopping, meal prep, workouts, meditations) on our calendars. But…how many times have we scheduled something and then cancelled it as soon as other priorities seemed more pressing?
This is why I like to use what I call the “Calendar Rule.”
The rule is this: Once we schedule something on the calendar, it can be shifted (within that same week) if needed, but never deleted.
It has to happen during the week it was scheduled — no excuses. Commit to this.
Using the mindful check-ins mentioned above will help us to see exactly how we’re spending our time and will help to increase awareness of motivation.
When it comes to our health & wellness goals, there’s a lot to be said for staying the course, the bumpy, messy, nowhere near perfect course.
Taking small action steps — with a focus on being consistent rather than being perfect — implementing smart time management tools, and finding an appropriate accountability partner will help us stay on the path to achieving our goals.
Founder of High Vibe Office, Shelby Wayte is a Holistic Health & Transformation Coach for busy women who are ready to break the destructive cycle of stress + burnout — to live a more energetic, vibrant, happy and healthy life — think of it as higher vibrational (high vibe!) living. Don’t you think it’s time you said buh-bye to the daily grind, and hello to the daily groove?
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