By Sarah Hunt, AZFB Communications Intern
Ever wondered why its so hard to lose weight, get into shape, or change your eating habits? I’m constantly relearning this phrase my grandpa always said: “the easy way is the hard way!”. It means if you want something done right, you have to do it the right way. There’s no shortcuts or sidesteps that you can take.
Now, in our modern world where we get many things instantly and at the touch of our fingertips, even a small wait like when our cell phones are buffering can bug us. So today, I’m sharing the key attributes you need to develop or strengthen to be successful in your healthy endeavors.
You have to decide if you want something bad enough, or if you are genuinely happy with where you are. Distinguish the difference between being content and complacent with your health. Dictionary.com defines complacent as “pleased, especially with oneself or one’s merits, advantages, situation, etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect”. Content is defined by the same source as “satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else”. In the end, improving your health will always be worth it.
Making a commitment means you do what you say you’re going to do. You make your goals, and then follow through, one day at a time. To commit is defined as “to bind or obligate oneself, as by pledge or assurance; devote or engage oneself to a person or thing”.
Diligence is similar to commitment, but has a few key differences. Diligence is “constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind”. Whereas commitment is a promise you are constantly making and keeping to yourself, diligence is the effort you need to put forth every day to see the improvement in your health that you want to see.
This is one of the most important traits to improving your health, although all the others listed are needed to support it. Consistency is a “steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form, etc.”. When you are consistent, you are sticking to your schedule of when you are going to accomplish your daily goals. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work out at 6 am every morning, but rather you did your workout that day, regardless of what time it was at.
You met your goal of, say, working out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday this week, even if it wasn’t at the exact time you planned. When you are constantly repeating and meeting your goals week after week, you are bound to see results as the months go by. It’s not always easy to do this, which is why we’re introducing the next couple principles.
It’s inevitable; we’re all human, and we all make mistakes. We all get too busy, or forget to do our workout, or simply don’t have the time or energy or willpower to make a healthy meal or whatever our goal was that day. Forgive yourself for not making your goal that day and resolve to do better the next day. Don’t let missing one day make you give up on your long term goals entirely. Progress is still progress, no matter what it looks like. Don’t let it go to waste!
Patience is defined as “bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like. Quietly and steadily persevering or diligent, especially in detail or exactness”. It can be easy to get so frustrated with your multiple failed attempts that you want to give up on ever improving your health entirely. But when you take a deep breath, calm down, and ponder why you’re trying to accomplish your daily goals, you find the motivation to keep going, despite annoyances or delays.
Practicing patience is one of the best ways to remain consistent with your goals. Keep going, and as time passes, you will start to see results. Try adopting daily mantras to give you the motivation to keep going, such as, “I may not be there now, but I will one day if I keep going” or “my work today is bringing me closer to my ultimate goal”.
Resilient is defined as “springing back; rebounding. Returning to the original form or position after being bent, compressed, or stretched. Recovering readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyant”. When you are resilient, you get back up when you fall, so to say. When you miss a workout or eat a not so healthy meal versus a healthier one, it doesn’t faze you anymore. Ultimately, you will come to this point where you snap right back.
It takes a lot of practice and consistency, but as you make yourself get up and accomplish that daily goal, you will be more likely to do this in the future. It will get easier to keep doing this, and it will be easier to stick to your schedule more and miss your daily goals less. Surround yourself with positive motivation. Some of my favorites are mantras, quotes, a healthy reward (food or a retail item), and having a workout partner, who makes similar goals as you, so you can motivate each other, be accountable to each other, accomplish your goals together, and celebrate your achievements together.
It is SO important to celebrate your success, whether you just finished your workout on an especially challenging day, finished running a marathon, or you simply decided to go with a healthier option at a restaurant over getting a Big Mac. Small and big wins should both be celebrated regularly. It’s important to remain humble and grateful about your successes as well. Be proud of yourself, but give credit where credit is due, whether it’s your accountability partner for keeping you going, Walmart for providing you with healthy groceries, or being able to afford a gym membership and have a place to go to work out.
Lastly, keep going! There’s always more progress you can make when it comes to your health, whether it’s your emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual health, amongst other types of health. Take your time, make time for breaks, and avoid burn out. As you consistently adhere to your daily goals and make time for rest, you will see the progress appear that you are seeking.
Endurance is defined as “the fact or power of enduring or bearing pain, hardships, etc. The ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions; stamina. Lasting quality; duration”. When you endure, you persevere and push through the tough times, because you know it will eventually be worth it. If you continue to endure and power through, you will reach your ultimate goal. Endurance also increases over time as you practice it, and you will be more likely to get through tough times in your health journey easier.
Find more articles about exercise, fitness, wellness, and nutrition on Fill Your Plate’s blog!