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"Mastering Consistency: A Guide to Achieving Your Goals"

This is the Holy Grail of behaviour change. Consistency. Nothing changes unless we stick to a plan, keep doing it on repeat, day in, day out, no distractions, no deviation, no giving in. Consistency is everything when it comes to transformation.


And that can be a daunting prospect.




I often describe the process of behaviour change as being similar to a physical training programme. We wouldn't expect to develop our physical fitness without a regular exercise regime and adopting a nutritionally balanced diet, but we frequently believe that we can amend our behavioural habits with little or no work on our minds. We fall into the trap of thinking we can simply be different; by utilising a flicker of desire or a transient whim, we will suddenly and magically transform, but then we never move beyond that point and subsequently fall back into our old ways.


So, the big question: how to create consistency?


You'll most likely have read some pointers on this before... steps including making a plan with SMART goals, discovering your WHYS, making yourself accountable, visualising the finish line and tracking your progress. All of these things are valid and will definitely help but there are a few other components essential in achieving sustainable behaviour change. And they are...


Commitment.


At the start of any behaviour change project, we have to commit. If there is no commitment, we'll inevitably go back to square one at the first sign of an obstacle. Commitment does not happen when we simply have a thought. The average person has 60,000 thoughts every day and so you will appreciate that a mere thought can easily get lost and readily forgotten about. A singular thought with no proactive commitment attached to it is just a feather in the wind... it's there, and then almost immediately it has disappeared.

Commitment means grabbing hold of that important thought and ratifying it - you can do this by writing it down, meditating upon it, drawing a diagram of what it looks like, practicing visualisation... or preferably all of these things. The more attention you pay to this thought, the greater your chance of achieving the outcome.

Pay attention to the thought every day via one of the above mentioned methods. Keep it locked at the forefront of your mind. Remember, it's competing with 59,999 other thoughts.


Now you've got the commitment bit sorted, it's time to turn your attention to this...


Distractions.


You will get distracted from your goal by a million and one little annoying situations, people, ideas, dramas and dreams. Every day. Competing for your consideration.

If you're trying to lose weight, this competition may come in the shape of tasty looking food, a meal out with friends, reading an article about how it's better to love your curves. If you're trying to stay alcohol-free, the competition could be an invitation out for drinks, Christmas Day with a bottle of Champagne, a greetings card that trivialises getting drunk, a display of attractively packaged bottles in the supermarket. If you're striving to let go of your last relationship, you'll no doubt feel as though you're being bombarded by references to love, the sight of couples everywhere, all wrapped around each other, or hearing your special song on repeat on the radio...

It is essential to prepare yourself for these distractions and curate a mindset that is aware, ready to bat them off, prepared to fight back with counter-messages and challenges.


Your Secret Weapon.


One special, unique thing is going to motivate you to stay strong in the face of temptation. It could be an old photo of yourself when you felt happy, fit and more in control of your life. Maybe it's a song that inspires you and puts you in the right frame of mind. It could be a person who always makes you feel a certain way, someone who brings out the best in you and boosts your self-belief. Figure out what your secret weapon is, and use it whenever you are having a crisis of confidence. Know that you can change your mood and state of mind when it isn't serving you.


Grit and Determination.


I decided aged 40 that I would run a half-marathon every year of my forties. I have done this despite a few setbacks, including breast cancer, Covid and a painful thigh injury. How did I manage this? Grit and determination. I absolutely would not give in. When I was scheduled to begin radiotherapy in the spring of 2023, a time that clashed with my planned HM, I opted to run it before the treatment began. I didn't take part in the organised race I'd registered for that year but instead ran 13.1 miles on my own. A month afterwards, I started radiotherapy and it took several weeks to recover from that but it was ok - I'd achieved my goal. When Covid struck me down earlier this year and completely wrecked my training plan, I employed mental strength and took part in the Sheffield Half anyway (a few weeks after I had recovered from Covid); I told myself that if I couldn't do it, I'd bail out halfway round. On the day, adrenaline and the buzz of the race kicked in and I managed to do it anyway (albeit not amounting to my fastest HM).

Grit and determination are everything when it comes to any behaviour change - we are always stronger than we think. Stubbornness is a major asset in the face of hurdles to success.


As always, my advice is this: don't just try harder doing the same old things that have never worked... do it differently. Embark on your particular project of behaviour change by giving it all you've got. Throw everything at it. Make it your sole focus. Obsess about it. And you'll do it.


Be consistent. Put the work in. And you'll do it.


Lucy xx 😘

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I identify with the sentiments in this so much Lucy. Grit, determination and stubbornness are probably three of my strongest qualities and possibly worst traits!! That and proving other people wrong! There are times in life when you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, despite what life is throwing at you and it’s absolutely true that ‘What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!’

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Thanks elliedee - did you also get told you were so stubborn (like it was a bad thing!) all the time when you were a kid? Well, we both know it's definitely is a trait that pays off in the right circumstances 😊. Keep putting one foot in front of the other - it is the route to success... Lucy xx

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