The wellness world has a lot of catch phrases, cliches and buzz words. “Discover Your Six-Pack, Find Your Fat Burning Zone, Train with Functional Movement, and my all time “favorite”…”Muscle Confusion.” Sometimes, we even refer to body parts on their own as a means of marketing services (“tone those abs, glutes, arms, chest, and legs!). Yes, the fitness realm has a lot of very overused but uplifting slogans and campaigns intended to empower, but there exists only a single word that truly matters in the grand scheme of everything. Only one that will actually deliver results and sustained empowerment. That word is “consistency,” and it holds the meaning and the substance behind everything you want to achieve in the gym, in health, and in life.
Consistency is the one steadfast variable that defines a successful client. Lack of consistency almost always epitomizes the individual who fails to accomplish what he or she desires. In almost a decade of working in the health and wellness field alongside hundreds of clients, I can say without hesitation that consistency is the single most important thing that EVERY client must COMMIT to in order to taste accomplishment and achievement. There is absolutely nothing that can replace consistency’s value, and there is no summation of other attributes that will atone for its omission. If CONSISTENCY was the name of a feature film, the movie poster need’d say anything besides “The Preeminent X-Factor of Everything.”
So why is consistency so difficult a concept for most people to adhere to? After all, people commit large sums of money to working with a professional fitness coach, or invest loads of time and money into a vocation or education path or career summit. Why would anyone waste such resources or even take that first step to begin with if the willingness to be consistent is nonexistent? Well, for starters…temporary moments of inspiration exist all around us. We don’t like the way we look or feel and are suddenly reminded of this through some advertisement or resonating stimulus. Or we listen to a profound motivational speech or watch a Youtube video that pushes us to move our respective asses off the couch (at least to grab our credit card or computer to buy something that promises results) to seek a path of improvement. The problem isn’t one of intention, but one of discipline. And what is discipline? It’s the bridge supporting what you want to achieve and the actual achievement of what you want. Discipline is what drives consistency once that initial inspiration wears off. It’s what keeps the goal…the goal! So how do we do this- 3 tips right here right now!
Consistency Tip Number 1- The New You Starts Today!
I just said it…right here right now. Everyone wants to pick a day to get started and forgive my French, but F*** That! The new diet, workout, fitness plan- the new YOU starts TODAY! My nutrition mentor John Berardi wrote a great piece awhile back entitled “I’d Love to Get Started…I’m Just Waiting For the Perfect Time” that I highly recommend everyone takes the time to read. The essence of the piece and both my and John’s overall message are that if you keep delaying and trying to schedule when you are going to improve yourself, you are always going to find some bullshit reason to put it off. Life is never perfect or convenient enough for anything in all honesty. Thus, be inspired right now and always merely because you have the opportunity to do something great. You’re alive! Realize that every moment is a chance to better yourself and that no exact moment is any better than any others. Embrace those events you want to look pretty for, and get a great pump in before a date you’re excited about- just make sure those moments are the exceptions and not the rule. The answer to fluctuations in consistency and how to deal with them ALWAYS involves the same two words…right now. So attack them head on.
Consistency Tip Number 2- Progress Not Perfection
This one is common as well, and it is one that I too have suffered from. People aren’t always just trying to delay a start date out of convenience, but also because they don’t feel that their situation is comfortable enough for them to produce a near “perfect” output. Hell, I would know…I’m a perfectionist! That said…I knew that ChrisDoherty.Fit had to look amazing and I knew that I was going to do whatever I had to do to make it look amazing. How did I make amazing happen? Consistency! I knew that I was going to work day in and day out until I killed it. It was arduous, it was tough, but I didn’t let the fear of imperfection cause hard work to pause nor did I let it unnerve my discipline. It made me say “each day, let’s get a little better!”
We shouldn’t go for perfection or the idealistic, but instead look to improve everyday. Sure, I wanted my website to look perfect on day 1, and I still strive for perfection every day in everything I do (nothing wrong with that). What I and everyone else really need to be focused on, however, is- are we better today than we were yesterday? If the answer is yes, we are on target. If the answer is no, we need to audit our approach and figure out why. Perfection is an ideal we will never actually reach, but the notion of it can make some of us thrive while it can derail those who relentlessly benchmark themselves against it. “Perfection is the enemy of innovation” says Under Armour CEO and Founder Kevin Plank, and I have realized that no matter what I do in life each and every day, the goal is to get better, not to be the infallible master. Progress each and every day just a little bit- you will be stupefied by what you can accomplish!
Consistency Tip Number 3- F*** Excuses
Sorry (but not sorry) for some of the profanity in today’s post, but in earnest…if one or two F or S-bombs inspires just ONE of my followers to be more consistent in his or her health and wellness pursuits, upsetting one or two people who don’t like swear words is worth the tradeoff. Truly, we have all heard the term “excuses are like assholes, everyone has one,” but the problem with justifying excuses is just that- it’s justification for NOT being consistent or for NOT doing something that we are supposed to do (aka, discipline).
There are plenty of days when we just don’t want to work out, or we just don’t want to eat well. A girlfriend or boyfriend broke up with us, we’re tired because we were out partying or dancing the night before, or work is flat out miserable and we just want to enjoy the evening and let loose. All common excuses we have all heard or given a thousand times over. Well, for starters…not every workout has to be a game day workout. In fact, if you’ve had four kickass workouts this week already, perhaps you are due for a day where you merely walk 15,000 steps using your FitBit or UA Healthbox as an activity monitor, or where you eat the cheat meal you have earned. Active recovery or comfort food is not a crime when you are consistently doing the things you are supposed to do! In addition, here’s a healthy tip- consistency allows for flexibility. If you are consistent, you have earned a cheat meal or a day of active rest (if you are really training hard, you might need a day or two off even). Lack of consistency on the other hand means making excuses and justifications for NOT doing things. See the difference?
My message to everyone in this post is simple. There are a lot of words and phrases and overall subterfuge out there in the world of fitness that all fight for our attention. The half naked bodies, the inspirational memes, the marketing, and all the things that want to make you buy something are fine and dandy, but you don’t have consistency in what you are doing, there simply is nothing else that will make an ounce of difference in your life. Decide what you want to do, figure out what you really want to achieve, and make a gameplan built around consistency. Not perfection, not in what comes easy, not in how little you can invest for maximal gain, but on what you must do to ensure you are always focused on the prize without letting excuses or distractions get in your way. After all, the essence of Coach Nick Saban’s “The Process” mentality (discussed in a previous blog) is built around winning every single play of the game. If you win each play, you win the overall game. Focus not on the overall game, but on the play. That’s consistency at its finest- THE PLAY. Win the play, win the game! Be consistent!