You can have all the knowledge in the world on eating better and exercising effectively. It won’t do you any good if you can’t apply that knowledge to your life on a consistent basis.
That’s the part we all struggle with.
The good news is it’s not an insurmountable obstacle. There are two steps you can take to make it easier on yourself.
A Lesson Learned from Video Games
I’m not a gamer.
I enjoyed video games as a kid, until they got so complicated you had to play all day to be any good. From then on, whenever I played with friends, it seemed like I would just die every 10 seconds.
For some reason that wasn’t as much fun.
At that point, my options were:
When it comes to fitness, I obviously don’t want you to quit. But the other two options are very similar to the two steps you can take to making diet and exercise a habit.
Step 1 — Switch games.
One of the most common mistakes that will cause you to be inconsistent is trying to do too much.
Odds are, if it hasn’t already been an established part of your routine, you won’t all of a sudden find fulfillment in taking an hour out of every day for exercise (assuming you aren’t 16 and just getting into fitness).
You also most likely won’t find long-term consistency jumping into a strict low-carb diet like Keto.
That’s not to say you can’t find a way to make it part of your life. You just need a program that will be easier for you. (Like playing Mario Cart instead of World of Warcraft.)
My advice: For exercise, start with 20-30 minutes of strength training just 2-3 times a week. Or 10 minutes a day 6 days a week.
If you’re skeptical, it’s probably because you’ve never done it before, or never given it a chance for long enough to see the results. If it’s quality exercise, it WILL give you results (which is why I programmed our Home Workout for Beginners this way).
For your diet, pick one thing to work on that will have the biggest impact on your life. I recommend adding to your diet (like more high quality protein, veggies, or whole foods) rather than subtracting (like cutting carbs).
You’ll still mess up, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be consistent…
Step 2 — Keep playing.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you that to be more consistent you just need to “Keep going… be strong… you got this!”
I mean, it’s true — after all that’s what consistency is — but it’s not helpful.
What I will tell you is, just like in a video game, when you mess up, it’s not game over.
For example, over the past 6 weeks, I kept track (as I always do) of every workout, and guess what… I wasn’t perfect.
I didn’t miss a workout, but I lowered the weight a few times to make the workout easy. I also cut sets here and there when I was either tired or short on time. In total, I missed about a workout and a half worth of sets over my last 18 workouts.
I don’t tell you this to give you something to live up to. Your level of consistency doesn’t have to be the same as mine.
It isn’t about achieving a certain level of perfection. It’s about not giving up when things don’t go exactly to plan.
Even when you miss workouts, it won’t derail your progress. The only thing that does that is quitting.
It’s the same for your diet. If your goal is to add more veggies, and you go a whole day without a single vegetable on your plate, that’s not inconsistency. That’s just 1 day out of 365 without a veggie.
Even if you’re only consistent half the year, that’s 500-600 extra servings of vegetables you might not have gotten otherwise.
It’s going to make a difference.
Is It Really Easy?
Putting work into diet and exercise is always just that: work.
It’s not easy because the work is easy.
It’s easy because you only need to work as hard as what is realistic for you (no matter how little it may seem), and only as often as is manageable for you (even if it’s less than 50% of the time).
That’s what real consistency is all about, and that’s pretty easy.
(If you’re still not convinced, go read “Why 90% Effort is More than Enough” to see how this concept played out for 1,000 different people in real life.)