I remember back in undergrad a friend and I were in talks of developing a magic pill that would help us retain and regurgitate knowledge. Imagine if this was more than a silly idea to help us make it through college! We’d not only be rich, we’d be masters of everything. So we thought. I’m sure like the movie Limitless, there would be some crazy consequences. Needless to say, the timing wasn’t right and we didn’t develop the pill then. Ohhhh but now (please tell me you read that in Avant’s voice!)... I think I’ve come pretty close to figuring that shit out.
Check this out: how much did my classmate and I really want to learn? We didn’t! We just wanted the results. We didn’t care if we fully understood the material. We developed ways to memorize the material for important exams. As easy as it was to memorize, it was just that easy to forget. We all wish there was a magic pill or an easier way to get things done. Fortunately for us, there ISN’T one. There's no other option that includes testing our will, strength, loyalty, and dedication to things, ideas, dreams, and even people. If you didn’t catch that I’ll say it again... there are no magic pills for this. Quick weight loss pills? Of course they are out there. Do they work? They probably do, but what about when you stop taking them? What happens then? You’re back to square one because that consistent action of taking the pill has stopped. The magic is in the consistency of taking that pill. Consistency IS the magic pill. Consistency breaks (or forms) bad habits
While it’s important for us to set goals it’s just as important to be consistent with our actions. They correlate greatly. Think about it. You set the desired outcome (goal) and put in the necessary action as often as required to reach those goals (consistency). Going back to the magic pill example, this would mean you’d have to take a pill for as long as you want the results.
I’m not with the weight loss pills and it took years for me to get this. I was very results driven without much thought about the necessary work needed to be put in. That’s why I cancelled a subscription I once had with a weight loss company after only a couple of months. Yes, it's easier, but not cost efficient for the long haul. And who's to say that company will last forever? Not to mention the possible adverse effects on the body. No shade at all to those types of companies, if that’s your thing. I mean, it can work... but just until that moment you stop. Maybe if you’re taking that stuff to get over a plateau along with some other form of activity you plan to continue, then I can see using it... maybe. But, there are other ways to get over plateaus. To be consistent with anything you have to create realistic and specific goals. I’ve gone over setting goals here so I won’t spend your time on that again (include link for goals). Alongside becoming consistent and deliberate in your actions, you have to know your weaknesses. Your weaknesses hold you back from achieving greatness. Good news, though: you have the power to control and improve in these areas. Address them and remove them.
One major weakness I had to come to grips with was my couch. I would come home from work and sink into it with the tv on and something I picked up to eat on the way home. And that would be it for the evening. Now when I get home, I catch the last of the evening news (I know. I’m an old lady) then I either head to the gym, hit the park trail, stay home and workout with my shows playing on the tv in front of me, or take a day to myself knowing I have no choice but to do some sort of exercise the next day. A few years ago, I probably didn’t have the time to workout *lmfao*. You see, we make excuses to hold on to our weaknesses instead of acknowledging them as imperfections and working to overcome them. Make a schedule and start a routine
That brings me to my next point. Get yourself on a schedule. It works for babies, right? Creating a schedule establishes a routine. Keeping that routine establishes discipline. You have to make the conscious decision and effort to plant good habits into your day and hold yourself accountable for them. It's important to note that creating a schedule reduces wasted time. It’s highly possible that you'll see how much free time you actually have but didn’t realize you had. Place reminders around your home, in your purse/ wallet, on your phone, or in your workspace to help you remember to stay focused.
Currently, I’m working on forming the habit of making sure I drink water as soon as I wake up. I found this app, Fabulous, in the Apple Store (it’s free to download but they will try to get you to upgrade... there’s stuff you can do for free, though) that helps you to pick up good habits. It assesses you based on a few questions and suggests one small habit to help you get started. Mine just so happened to be to drink water immediately after I wake up. It may be the same for everybody, I'm not sure. Anywho, this app asked me about my wake up time to make sure I’m up and sipping. When it’s time for my alarm to go off, a notification also alerts me to drink water. Once I acknowledge that I’ve done it, my progress is shown in the app. The app is not necessary for your progress - just an example of a way to schedule and track your progress. Because adapting to change can be difficult, it will be necessary to remove anything that causes temptation. Yep, that goes for people, too. For me, to improve my eating habits, I had to limit my time around people I knew would be eating or drinking what wasn't a part of my healthier lifestyle. My family included. Also, I didn’t keep snacks around. If it was reward time,I treated myself just enough to appease the craving and I threw the rest away. There was no saving it until the next reward time because I knew it probably wouldn’t sit there long. Don't forget to reward yourself!
Speaking of reward time, reward yourself when you’ve reached your goals. You’ve done hard work to make changes, so why not!? Rewarding yourself not only celebrates your accomplishments, it also acts as a motivator. You have something additional to look forward to as motivation. As I stated earlier, any reward I earned or anytime I treated myself to a vice, I would only have enough to appease the cravings and then I would go against everything they taught us in elementary school about “happy plates” and starving children in Africa and I threw the rest away. After you’ve reached your goal continue your forward progression by building on to that goal. Stagnation is the easiest way to slide back into your comfort zone.
Bad days are coming, and that's OK
We all have bad days and we’re human, so we make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up if you eff up. Things happen. Should you err, forgive yourself and move on. I often advise my friends that practice Intermittent Fasting to acknowledge the eff up and move past it. Don’t make a habit out of bad days because then you’ll be back to square one. The beauty in a journey is learning and growing along the way. You should learn from your mistakes as well as grow from them.
What do you do when you come to a point when you’ve made changes but you aren’t seeing results or you’re seeing adverse results? As with anything in life you assess the situation. Remain positive and don’t immediately run for cover. Think first. It's a learning process - trial and error. Have you changed anything? Think about if you’re doing anything different from what you were doing when you were seeing results. Use the negative outcomes as feedback to make necessary adjustments. Figure out where you made the error and correct yourself.
Consistency takes forward thinking and active decision making. To be consistent, you must dedicate yourself fully to your goals and limit your distractions. Success doesn’t always happen overnight, but making the changes necessary for your success can. It’s a decision you have to make for yourself. Take the magic pill daily, have patience, and put in the necessary work.