Do you sometimes feel like if you just had a little more motivation or willpower, you’d be able to stick to your health and fitness goals? I have a secret for you: motivation only gets you started and willpower has its limits.
The real secret weapon to sticking to clean eating and being consistent with exercise is automation. When you fall off the wagon, it’s not that you’re lacking willpower, it’s that you haven’t yet put the systems in place to support your goals.
Here’s what I mean:
If you think you’re going to go to the gym 3 times this week but you don’t have a plan for when you’re going, what you’re going to do when you get there, and how it’s going to fit within your overall fitness goals, you’re likely to over-think things and suffer from analysis paralysis. When you over-think a situation, you can literally think yourself into non-action.
Solution: automate your workout. Choose which days will be your gym days, and put them into your calendar. Know which fitness class you’re attending in advance, or know which workout you will complete on your own. Extra tip: if exercising on your own, choose one workout for the month. To make sure you’re not stagnating or getting bored, simply increase the weight or the speed at which you are working. Next month, new workout. Repeat.
If you come home from work not exactly sure what you’re having for dinner, you could hem and haw about it for hours, finally deciding at 9:00 p.m. to throw a frozen pizza into the oven. Not cool.
Solution: automate your nutrition. Plan your meals before the beginning of your week. Shop for only those meals. If you can, cook in batches on the weekend so you can already have healthy food ready to go during the week. When you eliminate the thinking, you make it super-easy to stick to your plan.
A few additional tools for creating automatic systems:
1) Eliminate the word “should” from your vocabulary. “Should” implies that you’re not going to do something, even though you know you ought to.
2) Eliminate the word “try” from your vocabulary. Ever notice that when someone will “try” to be at an event, they most likely don’t show up? “Try” is like making an excuse for not doing something before that something has even happened. Like Yoda says: “Do or do not; there is no try.”
My challenge for you this week is to stop looking for motivation and initiate some action. And I’d love for you to tell me about it! Let me know in the comments below what you WILL DO this week to stick to your fitness and nutrition goals.