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Consistency is key to success

All Areas > Health & Beauty > Looking Good, Feeling Great

Author: Will Mbanga, Posted: Wednesday, 27th March 2024, 09:00

Regardless of where you are on your fitness or wellness journey, we’re all familiar with the struggle of consistency in our habits.

While I have simplified the theory in this article to give easy, practical tips, there are some great books – ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear and ‘The Power of Discipline’ by Daniel Walter – which I recommend if you wish to delve deeper into the science of behaviour change psychology.

There are three reasons why habits usually fail. We’ll explore these, along with some solutions to help on your journey.

Your ‘why’ isn’t compelling enough

If the reason you want to start, stop or change a particular habit isn’t strong enough, it will become a battle to build and sustain new habits.

Your expectations are too high

If you set yourself a really difficult goal, unless you have an iron will, you may be setting yourself up to fail. While it’s good to dream big and raise the bar, sometimes small, manageable goals are better in terms of implementing and building the habits that will result in positive change.

You lack consistency

When you don’t do something often, it isn’t a habit! Whether you forget, it’s too hard or you don’t want it badly enough, lack of consistency can ultimately result in failure.

Whenever you work on a new goal, habit or skill, it’s best to try to work on it every day, even if on some days it’s just a quick refresher. The key is to maintain your commitment to the habit, even if every day isn’t perfect.

Of course, modern day life can get in the way, so skipping the odd day here and there isn’t a problem, as long as you get back on the horse as soon as possible.

Realistically, the odd day off might even help avoid burnout, and for some habits, time off may even be necessary, such as with fitness goals within a structured training plan.

However, the more consecutive days you skip, the more the risk of failure increases. It is, of course, still possible to resume after two days off, but what you’re trying to achieve may be much harder than after only a one-day break.

Those who exercise may notice that if you workout on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, your next Monday workout after two days off is often more difficult than the workouts on Wednesday and Friday where you’re in more of a routine.

Unplanned breaks can impact your progress

If your plan is structured this way, longer breaks can be manageable, but unplanned breaks can really start to impact your progress. Skipping three or more days in a row can create a physical and psychological domino effect that can overpower any desire or resolve you have.

This is the rule of three: any more than three days off causes the mind and body to return to its old, undesired state. If two days pass without engaging in your new positive habit or quitting a negative one, make sure you do something – even if you put in less effort than normal – on the third day to break the cycle and re-commit to your goal. The worst thing you can do is to do nothing.

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