Did anyone else notice that the gym car park was busier than normal last month? It’s no surprise – it was January, and all those who had made New Year’s resolutions were out in force. The gym itself also seemed to have more people in it, and I am told by a personal trainer friend of mine that round about mid February, the numbers reliably drop off again. Whilst I would be the first to applaud anyone that takes up a new healthy habit, what I want to focus on, and ultimately, what brings us the most success, is consistency. It is what we do every day, not once a week, or once a month, that makes us who we are. Success coaches tell us that we should make success a habit.
Many of my clients have concerns about “staying raw” when they are out to dinner with friends for example, or staying overnight in a hotel. My reply to these concerns is generally similar. “How many times a week do you go out to dinner?” Even the most decadent of my clients admits that it is only once or twice a week. “Fantastic!” I reply. “That’s 19 meals out of 21 that you have total control over.”
Let’s think about it. If we eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, that’s 3 meals a day, which equates to 21 meals a week. Even if we have two meals out per week, that is still 90% of our meals that we can make to our own specification. That’s good news isn’t it? And whilst many people worry about what they eat between Christmas and New Year, it’s what they eat between New Year and Christmas that really makes the difference.
I remember when I was training for my last marathon. I stuck to my training schedule like glue, because I knew it worked. And whilst a 5 mile run on a Tuesday afternoon might seem like scant preparation when planning to line up for 26.2 miles around London, it was the fact that I was consistently running 5 days a week, with mileages building up to 22 miles on a Sunday, which made the difference. It didn’t matter if I didn’t run on 2 days of the week. The fact that I was training on the other 5 was the important thing. So whilst running long distances might not seem completely relevant to sticking with a healthy eating plan, it has many similarities. Do you plan what you are going to eat every day of the week, and stick to it, or is your approach, how shall we say, slightly more flexible? We have all heard the overused statement that we don’t plan to fail, we fail to plan, so why not have a meal plan for those days when you are not going to be out enjoying cooked food in the company of friends?
When I first began sprouting, I remember that on some days I had a glut of sprouts that spoiled in the fridge because I couldn’t get through them in time. At other times, I ran out because I had forgotten to put them on to soak. With a plan, this won’t happen to you. And this is just one example. What is it that you want to achieve with your diet, or in other areas of your life, where consistency could be your best friend? If you have identified one, write a plan for it. This could be a daily plan, such as what you are going to eat each day for the week, or a weekly plan of how many miles you are going to run that week. Then you can tweak the plan – break it down into goals that are smaller and more achievable. If you want to run 50 miles in a week, your plan might be 20 miles on Sunday, rest Monday, 5 miles on Tuesday, 10 miles on Wednesday, 5 miles on Thursday, 3 miles on Friday and 7 miles on Saturday. If you want to eat out on Wednesday and Saturday evenings with friends, you could make sure that for the other days you have planned to have delicious, nutritionally dense food and juices all through the week. If you want to have a regular supply of fantastic sprouted food, you could ensure that you put your sprouts on to soak on a Sunday and a Wednesday. Or, you could invest in an automatic sprouter that could do the work for you.
Once you become consistent with your plans, you will get the benefits that only consistency can bring. Not everyone wants to run marathons. But there will no doubt be another goal that you want to achieve for this year. Why not write down what you want to have achieved by 31st December 2013? Then work out what it is that you will have to do each month to achieve that, and write that down too. Then get a diary or year planner, and write down what you need to do each day, or each week, to get you to each monthly goal. It may be a financial goal, such as reducing your mortgage. It may be a “food goal”, such as increasing your consumption of sprouted food or green juices. It may be a goal to spend more time with your friends, or visit family more often. If that time is set aside in your diary, it will happen. If the page remains blank, then life may take over.
The most successful people are those who work out a plan of where they want to get to, and subdivide that plan into achievable chunks that are not too daunting. They then consistently put in the effort and action that is required in order to tick those boxes. I’d love to hear about your plans for 2013, and what you are doing to ensure that you achieve those goals. I’m not talking about regimenting yourself so much that you feel trapped by self-inflicted restrictions. But if you want to be successful and achieve that goal, then consistent effort is going to be needed. Don’t be put off, don’t be scared, and remember to celebrate your successes as you tick off another achieved mini-goal that will lead you on your path to success. If you need help, remember that my telephone or one-to-one sessions are always available. It’s great to share the highs and lows of your personal journey with someone, and easy to forget just how far you have come and how much you have achieved, of which your coach will be only too happy to remind you. Why not try it – it can be a lot of fun, and could make the difference between a goal that is achieved and one that is only dreamed.