As a health coach my role and my goal is to help people to not just improve their health but to maintain their health for the long term.
I believe that your health is the key to achieving what you want in life. So to achieve what you want and to keep achieving it, you have to maintain good health for the same duration.
So why do I believe that improving your health for the long run is the most important thing you can do?
To achieve any goal you desire, you need the energy, mental clarity and focus to go through the required process of change. Nothing of great importance in life comes without hard work (well that is the case for me and every client I have worked with).
To work hard every day on your journey to success, you need the energy and determination to keep at it, especially if at first it doesn’t go to plan or the rest of the world doesn’t comply.
When your health is poor or not as good as it could be, then that hard work is multiplied. Your drive to step out of your comfort zone is reduced and it is easier to stay with the status quo.
Improving your health will give you the strength to cope with the discomfort needed to get what you want, and more importantly to keep it.
It’s Not Down To Motivation Or Willpower
We all have a limited amount of motivation and willpower, this is down to your past experience of success. If you have always failed then your mindset is one that tells you “you can try, but you will fail, like you always have”. So you can’t rely on motivation and willpower to succeed. Yes, they can get you started and moving forward, but they won’t help you get to the finish line.
What will get you to the finish line and beyond is your ability to do the right things over and over again - consistency.
It has been proven countless times, that people who consistently do the right things have a greater chance of succeeding than people who go hell for leather at the start, but can’t maintain it over a longer period of time.
Being consistent is not easy, just ask my clients. It is hard to just do the small things everyday that may not deliver instant results. We are bombard all the time with experts and celebrities telling us to follow their way of doing things and achieve the same results they did.
We get shown professionally created photo shots or videos of amazing looking bodies, that have been achieved by eating certain foods or doing a particular exercise routine. What they don’t show is the amount of time and repetition it has taken to achieve those results.
It is not great marketing to promote the idea that to get results you need to do what they do every day, for the next 365 days. How boring is that? Doing the same thing every day (without fail), for a whole year.
If you want to maintain those great results, you have to keep doing the same boring things every day (I am guessing that they won’t be seen as boring after a year if you have achieved great results. They will just become a way of life).
So if it is not down to motivation, willpower, certain foods or fancy workouts, and the only way to achieve long-term good health is through being consistent. How do you become more consistent?
The One Thing To Do Every Day
Plan Your Day The Night Before
We do what we do because of habits and behaviours we have developed over time, these habits and behaviours become convenient. They become our norm, our default position and comfort zone.
When something is easy and convenient, we often do it subconsciously. When we are placed in a situation where we can’t follow our convenient habits and behaviours we experience discomfort, and will try to change the situation to one that is more comfortable.
An example is when we feel low on energy. We automatically choose something that gives us instant energy, instead of doing something that will help maintain good energy levels over time, but not straight away thus not experiencing regular energy drops. Since low energy is uncomfortable, we want it to go away instantly so we can return to a comfortable state.
To maintain good levels of energy throughout the day, eating the right types and amount of food and getting the right quantity and quality of sleep is needed, that requires planning and good decision making so the right actions can be taken at the right times.
When we fail to plan or make the right decisions, we are at the mercy of our impulses. Impulsiveness is integral to human survival and made our ancestors act immediately to avoid danger and respond in the right way to survive.
Not all impulsiveness led to survival though. Maybe when being chased by a wild animal you chose to hide up a tree which had a nest of hornets in it. Out of the pan into the fire.
If you had time to plan your escape then you would I’m sure have chosen a different tree to hide up.
In modern life we still revert to our primitive instincts. Just nowadays it is the choices we make over what food to eat or whether we watch telly instead of doing 50 push ups instead of what tree we should hide up.
The wrong decisions are more likely to be made when we fail to plan ahead and then need to act on impulse: having fast food for lunch because you didn’t plan your lunch the night before; not setting a time to exercise and relying on your spare time to stay free from other people’s needs and wants.
Planning ahead will greatly increase your chance of actually doing something, even if only the day before.
Having your lunch in the fridge when you wake up, or having your training gear packed and in your car the night before, puts you in a greater position to actually eat the right foods and exercise on a consistent basis.
Of course it still requires you to want to eat the right foods and exercise, but planning ahead will help you increase your consistency more than if you don’t.
Planning ahead helps avoid making last minute decisions, especially when time is crucial and energy is low. It will also give you control over your day and allow you to perform the day-to-day actions needed to deliver and maintain long-term results.