Consistency is not my forte. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I may stick the ‘really important stuff’ out (like child rearing because, you know, not ruining a human being is a 10 on the Super Important Stuff scale) but for other things where life is not hanging in the balance, I tend to bat things around like a kitten with a ball of wool until the next ball of wool rolls by, then I go after that…and I really LIKE living this way. I never get bored…well…not for very long, at least.
I stated in one of my previous posts “One last point before I sign off: I plan. I’m good at planning. I plan meals, exercise, get things ready the night before. I’m good at it. But HOLY CRAP I get sick of it and, usually by Thursday, I stop executing and just let it all go to hell.”
This this is the theme of this post: ideas on how to keep on executing when you come to a point in your week\day\hour\month when you could really not care less. Maybe even become resentful….and rip your plans off the wall…and shred them, sobbing I’m an “I hate routine” person in an “I need routine” world…”
I think, at the end of the day, I’m trying to find “right ways” that “Fit” for me. And I kind of think there are a lot of “me”s out there or, at least “You”s who can relate to some of the things I know about Me.
I don’t like routine, I’m not a morning person, water was something I bathed in and loved dearly but wasn’t much for routine drinking, and I get bored and tired with doing the same thing all week – even if I mix it up even just a little. I’m not a ‘joiner’ so don’t usually go in for races or clubs or classes that other people find motivating. But I still need to be healthy, fit, motivated, and hydrated just like everyone else. It can feel like a real struggle at times. OK, it can feel like a real struggle most of the time. So here are some of my coping skills. Perhaps you can leverage some of this information for those days that a new ball of wool rolls by and distracts you from the ball of wool that is meant to keep you healthy, hydrated, and motivated! (Darn those random, intriguing, derailing balls of wool. Darn them all to heck.)
Tool Number One: Stop Believing in Magic Wands or that Bad Karma MUST be biting you in the butt or that there’s an unseen army of evil gremlins dragging your resolve into the pits of hell. You will not likely EVER develop a new habit overnight. You just slipped up FFS, no cosmic interference required. And you’re going to slip up a lot more. Get comfortable with it.
If eating healthy, exercising, or whatever ‘good for you’ thing that you’re working on making routine is important enough to you LET YOURSELF GET SICK OF IT….but don’t give up on it completely.
Getting sick of the work it takes to integrate something new is normal. Don’t bother fighting it. Don’t chastise yourself, negative talk your way back into it, or paint anything negative on it at all. Just accept that you blew it that hour, that day of the week, every third day of every week, that month, etc. pick up, dust off, and get back to it.
I have been working on integrating more raw food into my daily diet since 2012 (and I have the blog archives to prove it) and I still fall off the wagon. But my time off the wagon is so much shorter than it was, and getting back on that wagon is so much easier. I just never gave up. I USED to get red faced when in one moment I would tell someone that I eat primarily raw food, and then have them catch me 2 days later scarfing back a burger (with bacon AND cheese). Now I can say “I am human! I am not perfect! Mind your own darn lunch, you busybody!” 🙂 and sincerely not feel an ounce of shame because a) It’s true, I’m human and b) I know I’ll get back to my pristine diet the very next day and the faith I have in myself on this subject is all that really matters.
Tool Number Two: If you suck at planning (of setting that goal, identifying where it needs to fit into your each and every day, etc) you are not a failure. It’s just not your skill. FIND the templates you need to PLAN (interweb – it’s awesome: meal planners, workout planners, morning/evening schedules, menu\recipe\grocery shopping planners, etc), and then follow them until SQUIRREL!
When SQUIRREL! happens – make note of it. (And for those of you who don’t actually know what the SQUIRREL reference is – it is that thing that pulls your focus away, quickly, completely, in the moment. Like a dog who obeys your every command until that squirrel runs by…and then, to the dog, you cease to exist.) But make note of it because there may be patterns and then you can start to mitigate those pitfalls. My planning helped me to see that I fell off my wagon every Thursday. The “WHY” almost didn’t seem important: bored, tired, lazy, overwhelmed, underwhelmed, yadda, yadda, yadda: I can’t solve all the challenges of my personality here….I only need to solve “Stop falling off the wagon on Thursdays!” So I prepped food for Thursdays the same day I prepped food for Wednesdays. I took it on Thursday and ate it! Wow! I just had to show my stupid-stitous brain (the one that thinks I might be fundamentally broken…nahhhhh…..I’m awesome…the stupid-stitious brain is the one that believes the unseen Gremlins are dragging my resolve into the pits of hell and that there’s nothing I can do about it) that ‘the problem is solved, no magic required, it’s that easy’. It became less and less of a problem.
But I may not have been able to pinpoint my Thursday issue (and my Monday morning issue, and my Sunday night issue, and my rainy day issue, and my hot day issue, and…) without making a weekly plan, following it until I stopped following it, and keeping track of that – even for just a couple of months (the tracking part….the planning part is “forever”).
Tool Number Three: If consistency really is a big problem for you like it is for me, then do yourself a favour – only set ‘time frames’ for your goals if you are 100% positive that you will meet them. I have stopped setting time-based goals for the things that are really important to me (80% raw all the time, exercise daily, lose some weight (how much of it is my business, tyvm 🙂 )). I do this because it is these things that are The Goal(s) and when I set time-frames, the time-frame becomes The Goal, and then The Goal gets sabotaged by my challenges with consistency. Talk about setting yourself up to feel like a failure, or a loser, or hopeless. And talk about horrible ways to feel about your awesome self! Cut that out!
So I have The Goal(s) and I keep working away at them – doing the things (some big, some small) every day that lets me put a Happy Face on my daily plan (yes, literally – the most negative I get is when I put a sad face….but it’s sad because I know I’m missing out, not because I failed) and then, over time, I see more happy faces in that week than I had in previous weeks. I just keep chugging along and eventually my successes reveal themselves to me and then I CELEBRATE THEM (because, whoa, I completely earned them)!
The only time-based goals I set are in the moment: “I’m going to walk 8K in 1 hour and 15 minutes, which will be 5 minutes better than last time.” Or “this week, I’m going to get one more workout in than usual”. Or “by the end of the month, I’m going to have 20 Happy Faces on my month’s weekly plans.”
I know a lot of people set time-based goals and succeed. A friend set a weight loss goal to fit into a wedding dress in 9 months, and she did it through exercise and healthy eating. Damned rights I was both jealous and impressed, because that looks like magic to me and I wonder why she was born with a wizard’s wand up her butt and I wasn’t. Although I’ve been raised to think I should be able to do this – I’ve now come to terms with the fact that I can’t/won’t/don’t really want to under certain circumstances and have found a different path to my successes that works WITH my nature, not against it. I’m better off saying “I’m going to exercise and eat healthy and I’m going to look as good as I look by the time the wedding rolls around” because, for me, if “X weight by the wedding” is The Goal, I should just decide to fail on day 1 and get it over with rather than suffer through months of feeling horrible about myself because I’m not the kind of person who will magically have better consistency and motivation and focus because of a goal like that.
So there we go. If you’re in the “SQUIRREL!” club, or the kitten with the ball of wool club, or the ‘I get bored easy’ club, rest assured that you are not alone. And also rest assured that this does not mean you will never have success with your health and fitness goals, you just have to go about them in a different way than others. Hope I’ve helped. Good luck!
Post-Script: And I don’t fall for the “The best way to reach your goal in 6 months is to set a series of mini-goals between now and then because that far away goal may seem too unobtainable” soul crushing philosophy either. For some people it works, yes. For people like me, it’s just a bunch of mini-opportunities to feel like crap over getting bored/sick of/distracted while working up to that final “what a gong show, I totally blew it!” goal 6 months later. Oh joy!