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Motivation Articles  ›  Staying Motivated

3 Simple Ways to Build Consistency

Because Consistency is the Key to Success!

-- By Dean Anderson, Fitness & Behavior Expert
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You don’t have to be an expert to figure out that consistency is pretty essential to successfully change your life, your health, and your weight. But it’s also pretty clear that building a consistent routine of regular exercise and healthy eating is not an easy thing to do.

You start off the day with the best intentions—to exercise, track all your food, and make healthy choices. But then life happens. One of the kids is sick, the babysitter is late, the snowplow blocked your driveway, the boss asks you to work overtime, or any one of a hundred other surprises that can really wreck your day. Before you know it, your plan is in trouble and your prospects for "sticking to it" aren’t looking very good. In fact, things are probably going to get worse as the day goes on. By the end of the day, you have no energy left for exercise, and the task of preparing a healthy meal feels like a big burden when what you really want is a break. Something has to give.

More often than not, "what gives" is your plan to exercise and eat right. When it’s hard to do everything, the things most likely to go undone are those that don’t affect or involve anyone but you—especially if those things aren’t exactly your favorite things to do anyway.

So how do you change this pattern? With the three rules for building consistency.

These three simple rules, when followed faithfully, will make it easier for you to be consistent with your healthy lifestyle habits—even on the toughest days.

Rule #1: Never tell yourself “I’m not motivated.”
That’s not the real problem, unless you really don’t want to lose weight or live a healthy lifestyle. As long as you do want these things, you have all the motivation you need.

It may be true that sometimes you don’t want to exercise, or that you really want to stop and get fast food rather than cooking dinner. That’s understandable, but it doesn’t mean you’re not motivated. It just means that you want two different and opposing things, and you have to make a decision. Telling yourself that you lack motivation is just a way of denying that you really do have a choice. It makes the problem seem mysterious and out of your control, and it makes you feel less powerful than you really are, because you lack something (the motivation) you need. Not true!
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About The Author

Dean Anderson Dean Anderson
Dean Anderson has master's degrees in human services (behavioral psychology/stress management) and liberal studies. His interest in healthy living began at the age of 50 when he confronted his own morbid obesity and health issues. He joined SparkPeople and lost 150 pounds and regained his health. Dean has earned a personal training certification from ACE and received training as a lifestyle and weight management consultant. See all of Dean's articles.

Member Comments

  • I've heard it takes 21 days to form a habit, but I didn't realize it could take up to 40! That's a good fact to keep in mind. Thanks! - 2/16/2014 9:44:54 AM
  • A little way into reading this article, I said to myself, "Who wrote this? Coach Dean?" Thank you so very much for saying this in a way I can understand it and believe it and put it into practice! Are you that little fly on the wall? - 1/27/2014 10:39:24 AM
  • JAZZ4200
    This article hit home with me. Consistency is the # 1 reason we win and lose. If you are not consistant you will lose and if you are consistent you will win. When I speak of winning I am talking about with us, not against others. Let say you make a decision to live a healthier life style. This is about you and for you, therefore only you can do it and the way to get it done is being CONSISTANT. - 9/18/2013 8:59:07 AM
  • great article thank you spark people
    - 8/7/2013 10:05:28 AM
  • Great article. I like the plan b. - 7/18/2013 7:38:22 AM
  • Thank you. I always find your articles the best for application and really understanding where my blocks are. - 5/2/2013 11:44:26 PM
  • "You start off the day with the best intentions—to exercise, track all your food, and make healthy choices. But then life happens" This jumped right out at me, so true! - 4/16/2013 9:46:30 PM
  • Great ideas in this article. Very reality based!!! - 1/23/2013 8:57:23 AM
  • I wrote these down and put them inside my kindall, which I take everywhere. They are all good reminders. No matter what ails me I always feel better after a workout. The buddy Idea is one that will really help me because I always do better when I have to be accountable to some one else:O) - 12/4/2012 2:43:00 PM
  • i find the more i do the more i want to do and vice versa. - 10/17/2012 7:52:22 AM
  • that was helpful, Am working on plan B now - 10/10/2012 8:26:57 AM
  • I liked this. The other day I wasn't going to go walking, because my legs were bothering me, so I decided if I could come up with 5 reasons not to go , I wouldn't.I went for my walk and my legs didn't hurt any more by walking, then they did sitting.I actually felt better. - 9/4/2012 7:44:20 PM
  • I think this article could be read and re-read to keep motivated. Everything here is common sense. We sometimes fell like our situation is so unique that no one else has these situations come up. Another suggestion might be to get up half an hour earlier each morning and put on you exercise clothes and start moving. Then, if life gets in the way, you've exercised and started your day feeling more motivated. - 9/4/2012 1:37:42 PM
  • This message really struck a note with me tonight. Thank you for posting it. - 8/6/2012 11:15:42 PM
  • MZASHLEY150
    THIS ARTICLE MAKES THE PERFECT SENSE. - 7/18/2012 11:22:03 PM