When we are trying to make changes to our lifestyle or diet, consistency is the key. Nearly every day in my practice, If I see someone who hasn’t met their goals over the previous weeks or months – 90% of the time its not because they are intentionally deviating from their plan, but something happens that is out of their control, or unexpected and suddenly meeting their goals just feels way too difficult. Or they try to do everything absolutely perfectly and it all becomes too much.
Some perfect examples of this include the office worker who ended up buying lunch all week because they had an impromptu family event on Sunday so missed out on their shopping and meal prep day.
It might be the person who moved house and now doesn’t have time for breakfast because their commute is longer and they can’t bare getting up any earlier. Sound familiar? Well, today we are going to talk about some of the ways that you can overcome these unexpected changes, by being kind to yourself and making things easier, because the easier something is for you to do, the more likely you are to be able to stick to it.
The first tip is to look for at alternative options:
- If you don’t have time for breakfast at home, can you eat something once you get to work? A lot of employers will provide basics such as bread and spreads so utilize these things, otherwise, keep your own toast and peanut butter in the fridge; keep some cereal in the cupboard or in your drawer at work, or make something like mini frittatas for a high protein start to the day.
- Use the times when you feel more alert/productive to make up for the times you don’t. If you are a night person over a morning person – prepare your breakfasts and lunches the night before so that you can just grab and go.
Secondly, look for ways to be more efficient:
- Whenever you cook something for dinner, freeze any extra leftovers to give yourself a backlog of frozen meals when things get busy.
- Embrace simple frozen meals such as frozen vegetables and frozen fish pieces (not battered) which can be kept in the freezer for months and used to throw together a quick lunch or dinner in a matter of minutes.
- Explore online shopping! In this digital age, we can basically buy anything you want online and have it delivered to your home. Investigate using the home delivery option from your local supermarket which can eliminate the effort of having to go do the shopping as you can do your weekly shop sitting on the lounge in your pyjamas, and have it delivered at the time and date of your choice. This also limits impulse purchases as you have to work off a shopping list, so you may save money in the long run.
Finally, set yourself reminders:
- Do you ever plan to go for a walk or run but then get caught up doing something else at home and forget about it? Remind yourself by setting an alarm or your phone or putting it into your calendar same as you would for any other appointment. That way when the alarm goes off you have no excuses not to go. It also helps to prioritise this as an appointment with yourself rather than just something else on the to-do list.
- Put a big note on the front door or your mirror reminding yourself to pack your exercise gear, or book in for your gym class. That way it will always be at the front of your mind.
While these may seem a bit silly, I’m not recommending you do this forever, the idea is that you might use these techniques for the first couple of weeks and then once you are in a routine, let the good habits speak for themselves.