How many times have you heard about the most AMAZING workout or BRILLIANT diet, tried it, and then NOT managed to stick to it? If you are like most people, the answer will be too often!

New diets and workout plans are often promoted as being the best way to lose weight and get fit but, the reality is, consistency is much more important than the actual plan you follow.

For example, a diet might call for you to eat steamed fish and green vegetables three times a day for 30-days. Will you lose weight? Absolutely! But will you really be able to stick to such a boring, restrictive eating plan? Probably not! And if you do, what happens on day 31? Probably a junk food binge!

Rather than seek out the best exercise or diet plan, you will get much better results if you find ways to make your actions more consistent. A good consistent average will produce better results than the occasional high. If you keep chipping away, you will get the results you want.

Here are FIVE ways to improve your consistency so that you are always moving forward toward your fitness and weight loss goals rather than away…

1) Start slowly

Enthusiasm is great but too much could also be your downfall. Doing too much exercise too soon can leave you tired, sore, or even injured and dieting too hard will leave you hungry. Hunger can severely undermine your willpower and, once that goes, you are only moments away from breaking your diet.

Resist the urge to act like a bull in a china shop. Instead, introduce exercise and healthy eating gradually into your lifestyle. As you get comfortable with your new actions, gradually make things a little more challenging.

Build up your momentum slowly and you’ll find it much easier to stick to your new, healthy lifestyle.

2) Find your “why”

Why do you want to get fit or lose weight? What are your underlying reasons for wanting to adopt a healthier lifestyle? People who have no clear-cut goals are much less likely to stick to their diet or exercise plan. They lack a driving force to keep them moving forward.

In contrast, those with a clearly defined “why” are much more likely to stay the course.

Think about your why and think about it any time you feel like your willpower is wavering. Good whys include:

  • Lose weight for this summer’s holiday
  • Look good in my new workout gear
  • Reduce my risk of illness
  • Have more energy for playing with my kids
  • Feel better about myself and improve my self-image

3) Make yourself accountable

Accountability helps keep you to stay consistent. It’s easy to skip a workout or ditch your diet if no one else but you will ever know. But, if you are answerable to someone else – that’s a different matter. There are lots of different ways to make yourself accountable including:

  1. Find an accountability partner to exercise with
  2. Photograph and post pictures of all your meals on your Facebook page
  3. Agree to give a friend £10.00 every time you skip a workout – you’ll have to send them a picture of you at the gym on all the days you schedule a workout
  4. Hire a personal trainer and pay for a block of sessions
  5. Start writing a fitness or weight loss blog – you’ll readers will know if you aren’t walking the walk but only talking the talk!

4) Do things you love

We can all struggle through unpleasant workouts or eating foods that are healthy but we don’t like – for a while at least. But then, when your willpower quits, it can be all-but impossible to force yourself to do things you really don’t enjoy.

Get around this problem by doing things you enjoy rather than dread…

  • Hate running? Hit the gym and pump iron instead
  • Don’t like exercising alone? Join a fitness class
  • Hate cooking? Try eating more raw food or use a meal delivery company
  • Don’t like to get hot and sweaty? Take up swimming

There is ALWAYS an alternative way to make your diet or workout plan more enjoyable; you just need to seek it out. Once you find things you love to do, you’ll never need to use your willpower again!

5) Use systems to make exercising and eating healthily easier

The biggest enemy of consistency is difficulty. As soon as things get hard, it’s very tempting to just say “forget it!” and quit your diet or workout. The best way to avoid this is to create systems that make exercise and eating healthily easier. Good options include:

  1. Exercise during your lunchbreak at work so you don’t have to try and find energy at the end of the day
  2. Cook a week’s worth of healthy dinners on Sunday so you never have to try and find the time or energy during the week
  3. Pack your gym bag the night before so you don’t have to spend time in the morning when you are often too busy
  4. Portion up healthy snacks and leave them at work so you aren’t tempted to have a mid-morning donut with your coffee
  5. Place your alarm clock well out of reach and then put your workout clothes next to it. That way, when it goes off, you have to get out of bed to turn it off. Now you are up, you may as well put on your workout clothes too!

Systems make it harder to make excuses not to do what needs to be done. This will make being consistent easier.

6) Have workout clothes you look forward to wearing

If you dread stepping into the same old workout wear, it’s no wonder you find it hard to get motivated to exercise. Buy yourself some flattering, functional workout wear that looks and feels good. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman, having exercise gear you enjoy wearing will make it easier to stick to your workout plan.

The key to making your fitness and weight loss efforts successful is consistency. Worry less about finding the perfect diet or exercise plan and more about taking daily actions that will improve your health and fitness. Consistency is king!