You are starting a new meal plan, changing habits, starting to exercise, over all trying to have a healthier lifestyle. You start out motivated and go from 0% to 100%, on the first couple of days you do everything perfectly, but as the days pass by, the motivation goes down. You feel lazy, with more fatigue, so you stop doing what you were doing. The past habits are back, you feel guilty, question everything that you do, blame is all you feel because you couldn't keep up. Then after some time you motivate yourself again and go back to a new plan hoping that what happened last time doesn't happen again.
Why does this happen?
First and foremost, we aren’t holding ourselves accountable, we are not creating sustainable realistic habits and we aren’t doing something we actually like.
So how do we stay accountable? And stay consistent with a new healthy lifestyle.
Accountability is the core value of every part of your life, is the fact of being responsible for what you do and being able to give a satisfactory reason for it. Is getting yourself responsible for your goals and actions, not blaming others for what happens, finding a better path to your goals.
To have self-accountability we need some other value attitudes like:
Accepting your FAILURES: Failure “Lack of success” yes we didn’t succeed on what we wanted to do. But instead of demonizing the word and believing that is something bad we can use it as a new way to find a new and better way to work with your objectives. Accept your failures because they are a tool that leads us to achieve our goals.
STUDY: To find better paths we need to study to find a tool that best works with us, you visit a coach, nutritionist and / or doctor to advise you, find the best treatment, visualize what habits you need to change and get strategic tools to help you achieve goals.
PATIENCE: Nowadays we want everything fast, body, health, mind and economic change. We lack patience, to have a real change in your life is a necessity, some things may come faster than others. It depends on putting in the work, study, standing up and finding the best path for you.
How do we stay ACCOUNTABLE?
Maybe you want to start working out or eat more veggies or reduce the sugar consumption. Whatever your objective is, ORGANIZATION IS KEY, to set a day to work out, to shop for groceries or just to set a day to have your favorite meals.
OVERALL organization is key, but organization is not the same for everyone. For some a simple organization is making a list, creating a menu, meal plan, creating a schedule, using apps, and having alarms.
What can help you keep yourself organized?
Rate your self
This is a tool to help us organize our meals, habits or days. This consists of KNOWING what you are going to do or eat on that day
Lets say, you know that you should be eating a small quantity of carbs, more veggies and a high quantity of protein, so you know that your meal will be a cup of pasta plus one big salad with cooked chicken and olive oil. During dinner you follow the same rule. During the day you should be drinking more water but instead you took soda or sweet teas.
During the day around 90% was a great balanced meal, training and sleep, but you didn’t drink water. So maybe you rate 8/10 for the day.
So the next day you focus on changing that habit. You set yourself to add more water during the day, reduce soda consumption, find sugar free options and so on.
This is a daily meditative process of consciousness, we are trying to find the reason why some habits are harder to change and find another way to change.
Remember habits do not changes overnight, and talking around food it’s important to first reduce, find other options and then reduce, stop or change what what is causing you this bad habit.
REMEMBER food is not bad, we just need to change the frequency that we consume certain foods, but that doesn’t mean we are never consuming food we like. Food is a biological and emotional need so as well we need to accomplish the biological need by eating nutritionist food we need to eat what we love and adore.
Set REALISTIC GOALS
When we establish our goals we can set really high unrealistic or really unspecific goals. One of the most common goals when trying to have a healthy habit is to “lose weight”. I don’t really like those types of goals, first because we only focus on a number that doesn’t really tell us much, and second because it’s not specific. When someone tells me that “losing weight” it’s their main objective I usually ask them, “what do you mean by losing weight?” they normally go all out and start telling me “I mean that I really want to lose belly fat, have more strength, more muscle”,those are their REAL goals, they are realistic,
Let’s set another goal that they normally say “I wanna eat more clean”, CLEAN, “what does clean mean to you?”,normally they say “no more processed food, no sugar, no carbs, more water, no desserts” . It's quite an unrealistic goal, how many times you try to eat “clean” and then for some reason you binge eat and feel guilty. Normally with people I advise we evaluate their habits and find the habits that need to change, find healthier options and a better goal like “adding more veggies on my meals” or “reduce soda consumption, prefer water and teas” or “Instead of eating white bread find a sourdough or whole bread”.
As you can see, setting realistic goals is to be more specific on what you want or need to change. Setting sustainable and realistic goals can be quite easy. You just need to change your vision on the goals.
In order to create better goals and really improve habits or fulfill habits, there is a very simple formula. The first thing you should take into account before doing this is to set 1 to 3 goals, don't set more. Find activities that you like and that motivate you. Let it be something that YOU want to do
Let’s put an example, let's say one of your main GOALS is to “Workout 5 days a week for 1 hour”, let's say also that maybe that person only workouts out once a week and just 30 minutes. To achieve that goal we need to first put a timetable on when you want to achieve that goal, let’s say 6 months.
So now knowing this we are make smaller more realistic goals for each month, and then those goal are going to be made smaller, for each week, like this:
1st Month: Working out 2 times a week 35 minutes
- 1st week: Workout one time day 30 minutes and second day 10
- 2nd week: Workout one time day 35 minutes and second day 20
- 3er week: Workout once a week for 35 minutes and second day 30 minutes
- 4th week: Workout twice a week for 25 minutes
2nd Month: Workout 3 times a week for 40 min a day
3er Month: Workout 4 times a week for 45 min a day
4th Month: Workout 4 times a week for 50 minutes and a day for 30 minutes
5th Month: Workout 5 times a week for 50 minutes and a day for 30 minutes
6th Month: WOrkout 6 times a week for 50 to 60 minutes
As you can see you can achieve your goals more easier if you make a smaller goal, more measurable and realistic goal.
Motivation may go down, but we can keep motivated to do this by doing something that we like, that is why it is so important to love the activity and workout you are doing, read phrases, put reminders,listen to music, watch series when workout, find a way to keep doing that new habit.
Being constant can be tricky when you don’t love what you, when you blame yourself, you don’t rest and use it as a punishment.There may be days that you don't want to and that's okay, that's why we are starting little by little so that your body gets used to it and it becomes a habit.
If there is a day that feels tired, ill or whatever situation, what you should do is continue with your life the next day. WITHOUT COMPENSATING, WITHOUT REMOVING REWARDS OR PUNISHING YOURSELF. Life goes on, it's a new day.
Now it's your turn! Do this activity wherever you want, however it suits you.
Let’s say that you set yourself the next objective “I will not drink any soda during the week, just on the weekends and during one meal”. Then you accomplish this objective and so to reward yourself, find an activity that you like, avoid rewarding yourself with food but it can be an option it depends on the objective. What I recommend to use to reward yourself is:
Do a day of facial, massage, sauna, etc.
Movies or series or playing games or parties.
Maybe reducing the soda during the week can keep the weekend because you combine the consumption with an activity like a movie or party or having a meal with your partner or friends. Find an activity that can combine the consumption so its’ more satisfying, fun and you can anticipate all week.
Focus on an Activity
The reason I don’t put food as a reward is because we don’t want to relate food as something bad or something we are having only if we are “good”, if you want to put food as “reward”, change the phrase. Let's say that you want to have as a reward a chocolate cake, sooo instead of putting ”eat chocolate cake on the weekend” as a reward find the activity like “I'm going to my favorite restaurant or cafe to have a chocolate cake with partner” or “I will find a recipe to cook a chocolate cake”.
That way you stop focusing on food, and we find the connection with the activity, that way your reward is the activity not the food.
What is your reward? Find the best reward that can keep you on your toes and moving. Anticipation can be more exciting than just having or doing something that you want to do.
Remember self-accountability as well as creating new habits is a process with patience, that requires work, accepting failures and having a guide to support you through the process of having a healthier life.