Can living a healthy lifestyle actually become easy?

 

The answer is…sort of.

 

When does something become easy to do? It’s usually when we’ve made a routine out of it.

I’ve read a lot of books on business systems and routines. On many occasions I’ve tried to stick to the prescribed routine of the author and realized it’s just not feasible. Slowly I abandon it and go back to what is easy for me to stay consistent with.

It’s no different with diet and exercise. Somebody finds a way to get great results, they develop a rigid plan for success, then package and sell it. The truth is…most of these products work, they really work! If they didn’t they’d never stay in business.

The problem arises over time. Unfortunately, you are not a machine that can be programmed. Most people can withstand the pain and discomfort of a diet or exercise plan for a while. You see some results and you start to feel better. But, eventually it becomes too much and you slide back.

Adopting someone else’s routine just doesn’t work. It’s a matter of pain versus comfort. If something is too painful for too long, you will quit 99% of the time.

 

What’s the Solution?

The answer still lies in a routine…YOUR ROUTINE.

I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of making my system too rigid for clients at times. While I remain adamant that you start with some kind of standard structure to your day, it’s where you end up that matters most. The most effective routine is the one you can sustain week in and week out.

 

Example:

I encourage clients to minimize snacking or get rid of it completely. I do this for very good reasons. I want them to at least go a period of time and see how they respond. But, if an afternoon snack holds off their appetite and allows them to eat a more sensible dinner without indulging, then so be it.

 

The only rule is:

Once you start deviating from your initial plan, you have to stick with the new routine for at least a week. It can’t be something where you go day to day erratically because you got uncomfortable. It’s a matter of committing to incrementally adjusting your lifestyle and building your routine.

Remarkably few people are truly willing to engage in this process. They’re lured into the fad or gimmick because they can satisfy their conscience and say they gave an effort. In reality they have avoided confronting their lifestyle.

A short-term diet or exercise plan is easier than small incremental changes. You can always quit the diet, but lasting change requires steady (albeit minor) effort.

 

Here’s a simple process to find your routine:

Start with a template or structure

  • Meals and workouts performed at predetermined times, consistent each day

 Stick with a plan

  • Regardless of how you feel, give it at least a week before adjusting

 Adjust and Repeat

  • Choose one thing to tweak at a time

  • Repeat process for another week

 

Common tweaks are:

  • Meal times

  • Specific foods

  • Snacking frequency

  • Workout type

  • Workout frequency

 

It all begins and ends with a plan. When you have a plan, you move confidently into the week. When you face a challenge, you adjust the next plan. Eventually the plan becomes second nature and you’ve got yourself a ROUTINE.