And his answer was…

It’s March. Many New Year’s resolutions have disappeared. The desired changes didn’t happen. Yet. But they were positive and well meaning, so let’s re-explore. 

A brief but connected detour first. One of our trainers, Joey Wallen, and I often trade new info about exercise, techniques, adherence, etc. We’re closing in on 20 years that Joey has been with me and while it didn’t start this way, I now learn as much from him as he does from me. (Maybe more but I’m not conceding that). A client recently asked him which exercises he thought were the most important in order to maintain a certain level of fitness for a long time. As is true to his style and mind, Joey said to let him consider that for a bit. He ran his reply by me and I love it. His answer was that the specific “exercises” could vary but consistency was the key! 

So, now back to your resolutions. If we apply Joey’s advice, let’s call consistency by another term: Daily. I’ve long explained self-discipline as having two equal parts: self-denial and self-motivation. Most of us are better at one than the other. Give up the latte or go for a 30-minute walk? Whichever one sounds more troublesome to actually do is your self-help clue.

I was recently trying to decide about whether to do my at-home pullups/pushups for four days a week or step it up to six days. I tend to plan more comfortably than actually do, so I’d been mulling this over way too long. Joey’s advice to his client was perfect timing. My decision was neither. The answer was seven days and I’ve never looked back. Because that IS consistency. And when do I do them? My next point: In The Morning.

To be successful make it part of a Consistent Daily Morning Routine. Make it a habit. A ritual. I hear you. You don’t have enough time as it is, you’re not a morning person or whatever your reason is for not being able to and for not being a can-do person about this anyway. Then this suggestion just won’t be helpful for you. 

If, however, the resolution was about something important enough to justify change, then change. You do know that if you leave it for later in the day, life will often interfere. But if doing it is as automatic, as ritualistic, requiring no more planning or thought or consideration as your other morning habits, you’ll become consistent. A relevant question is whether you’ll benefit from it more than you do from your late evening activities. If so, how about altering your bedtime and get up earlier. Look, I know this doesn’t solve everything, but I also know if you make some positive changes that benefit you, you’ll never regret it.

But, that’s about the self-motivation part of self-discipline, correct? Yes. So what about those who have more trouble with the self-denial part? I’m out of my allotted number of words for this month so I guess that’ll be my month of May “To Your Health” column. Thanks for reading and see you then.