Today we are going to talk all about how to stay consistent with your wellness goals and your wellness routine.
The Secret to Consistency with Wellness
This show is really about simplicity and some very simple strategies that make such a difference in sustaining your wellness goals.
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It’s happened to all of us.
We have big plans, big goals, maybe set some resolutions, or just have ways that we want to improve our wellness, whether that's with meals, mindset, movement.
But when it comes to the day to day, when it comes to staying consistent, that's when things get tricky.
Today we are going to talk all about how to stay consistent with your wellness goals and your wellness routine.
Here we are in January (if you’re listening in real time) and I find January to be such a fascinating time.
I’ve always been interested in wellness, but now I’ve found myself on the other side, as a professional in the wellness industry.
It’s been about five years since I founded Real Food Whole Life.
And what you learn really quickly in the wellness world is that January is a huge month.
It took me a couple years of really learning this rhythm to realize just how important January is and just how much people are paying attention to wellness, wanting to make change, and really wanting to focus on those wellness goals during that time of the year.
I think it’s amazing to have this moment of reflection, to step back and look at your habits and your routines and to ask, “is this working for me? Is this how I want my life to be?”, and take that moment of reflection and turn it into action
But on the other hand, as someone who gets to see the back end of wellness, I see what happens in terms of actual behavior.
Every month I look at the numbers from my website, the number of people who have visited the site and the number of clicks they’ve made so that I can be informed and create better content.
After five years of looking at that information, what I’ve noticed is that January is one of, if not the, biggest month of traffic to my website.
And that makes sense-- people are interested in eating better, meal planning, meal prep, and personal development.
It's a destination and people are there to make that change and to make a plan.
And I love that!
But the interesting thing related to this conversation about sustainability and consistency is that by January 13th or so, after this huge spike on January 2nd, it kind of sustains itself for about two weeks.
After that, there is a slow decline into February where we kind of level off for the year.
What this tells me is that people have big goals and plans going into January, but for most people, sustainability and consistency is the biggest challenge.
And I know this to be true; this is a simple fact of life and wellness.
“If you can be consistent, if you can do things that are healthy or wellness related more often than you don’t, it will change your life”.
And yet we hardly focus on that!
We focus on the beginning, on the kickstart, on the 30 days, on the go hard or go home, and then we wonder why by mid-February we are back to where we started.
This is the magic of the gentle approach to wellness: it is so much more focused on mastering consistency and on the things that you do more often than you don’t.
On this time last year:
Last year going into January I had big plans for the podcast, for Real Food Whole Life, and for myself personally and I was just hitting the ground running ready to tackle the new year.
And then one day in early January, I woke up feeling the worst that I had ever felt.
I couldn’t move, I could hardly talk, I just slept that whole day, and then the next day was the same.
By the third day, things were only going downhill so I told my husband, Andrew, that I needed to go to urgent care; I felt really dizzy I could hardly stand up.
Side note: this is an important lesson to everyone-- if you don’t feel good go to the doctor!
So he took me to urgent care, I got checked in and when they took my blood pressure they sent me immediately to the emergency room.
So we went to the ER, and I had the flu.
I was really, really dehydrated and had really low blood pressure.
I ended up staying there for about a day to get rehydrated and ultimately everything was okay.
But once they released me, it took me five, six days to even be functional at all.
It was just a completely lost week of my life.
It really threw me off and it took me a few weeks to feel like a human again, to be fully functioning, to get back to all of my wellness goals.
And then a week later, Elle got the flu.
Kids are so much more resilient than adults, so it took fewer days for her to get better, but ultimately I took another week off to take care of her.
Each day I just felt more and more discouraged about all of the plans and goals I had made.
And not being able to work out or meal prep and do all of the things that make me feel really good.
I really felt like I’d backslid; it was a familiar feeling of falling off the wagon.
I tell this story because this kind of thing happens all the time, not necessarily getting the flu, but life gets in the way of our goals
You have a plan, and then something happens, and then you feel like you’ve fallen off the wagon and you just might as well give up.
And the thing I want you to know, here, is that this is so normal.
Life is not this perfect, straight line.
We don’t get to make linear progress; it is definitely a up or down situation.
“I think if we wait for life to be perfect, if we wait for the perfect set of circumstances we’re never going to be able to make any change”.
The more I really learned to embrace this, that life is messy, that things don’t go as planned, that this is part of wellness, the easier things became because I’m wasn’t fighting against life.
My tactical tip for staying consistent with wellness:
I want you to try this out and tell me how it goes.
We can connect on the Real Food Whole Life Facebook group or on Instagram.
This simple secret is what I call the Two Out of Three Rule.
The Two Out of Three Rule works whether we’re talking about meals, movement, mind, or minimalism, and it’s the simple strategy I’ve used to help undo the all-or-nothing thinking.
This applies to all of us, but especially to those of us who are Dynamos (if you aren’t sure what you’re wellness personality is, you can take the quiz here)
This quiz is based on a couple years of research that my husband Andrew and I have done, the types of mindsets people have when it comes to wellness, and what might actually be holding them back (which isn’t always what you thought it would be!).
If you haven’t taken it yet, I would highly recommend it and it comes with a free resource guide that we put together just to give you some insight into how you think so you can flip the script and embrace this life tested research based ways of living well.
Let’s be honest, all-or-nothing thinking is a challenge for all of us, but Dynamos in particular-- this is such a challenge because you want to do everything perfectly and if it can’t be done perfectly, then you want to not do it at all.
I bet most of you can think of a time when all or nothing thinking has really gotten in the way of consistency, of staying with your wellness routines and habits.
Whether you went all in and it became unsustainable or whether you just quit all together and fell off the wagon, this all or nothing thinking is such a challenge for so many of us.
And the reason I tell that story about getting the flu in January is because it’s so tempting to just give up.
Here’s where the Two Out of Three Rule comes into play-- it really helps to shift the way you think.
“Instead of trying for perfection… think about success being doing it more than you don’t”.
Let’s take a moment to acknowledge that for all you Dynamos, for all you type-A perfectionists about wellness, that this feels uncomfortable.
Who wants to do something two out of three times?
But let me just say, if it’s working for you to do it perfectly and never miss a day, never have life get in the way then that’s awesome!
But if it’s not working for you or if you find yourself on or off, all in or all out, let me offer this as an alternative.
I want you to use Two Out of Three any time you find yourself all in or all out; this can help you get back to consistency, back to sustainability.
Examples and habits:
Let’s get into some tactical examples and habits.
One of my favorite ways to use the Two Out of Three Rule is with the meals of the day.
Most of us eat something along the lines of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and maybe one of those meals feels like a splurge.
This is a way to take that moment and instead of turning it into a shame spiral, you turn it into an opportunity.
Let’s say you plan a nourishing meal for dinner, but when you get home from work, you’re exhausted so you order a pizza instead.
Rather than spiraling out all together, just say, “okay, well two out of three”.
And the next two meals, focus on nourishment, on real food, and on healthy.
I find that this applies so well to the three meals of the day, but it also applies to days and even weeks.
If I have a full day of splurging, then I’ll take the next two days to really focus on nourishing myself.
Each day and each meal is an opportunity for a two out of three.
If you can adjust your mindset to see success as two out of three, that it’s not a failure because this is how life is, this will help you stay consistent and do the things you need to do more often than you don’t.
“Incremental change adds up to really big results”.
I even use this rule for weeks.
After a two week holiday just now, where the last week didn’t align with my wellness routine, I’m not even worried because I’m focused on the next two weeks which I will fill with nourishment, movement, hydration, and taking care of myself.
The Two Out of Three Rule applies to movement just as easily.
If your goal is to work out every day but you miss a day, then reframe to “I’m going to get two out of three”.
This works for whatever your wellness mind habits are, as well.
One of the things I love to do is my 5 minute morning (listen to the episode about my 5 minute morning here and grab the journal here)
But the truth is, sometimes I miss a day or even two from my routine.
What I’ve found is that when I miss one day, it’s no big deal.
But once I miss two days, it’s so hard to get back into it.
So I practice Two Out of Three.
Putting this gentle approach into action by having some compassion and having some room for life, illness, travel, and whatever else life throws at you-- it doesn’t make you weak and it doesn’t make you a failure.
It simply gives you the tools to come back to that important moment when you miss, or skip, or don’t live up to our own expectations.
Here’s the thing about the Two Out of Three Rule: it really can be applied across your life and across your wellness goals and routines, but the magic is in the practice.
By actually letting this infuse into your life, that’s when the real magic happens.
The more you practice Two Out of Three, the more that you rebound after you “mess up”, the more that you start to change your brain.
You actually change the way that you think and over time that grip on perfectionism and all-or-nothing thinking starts to loosen.
You’ll get a little more clarity on this idea that showing up and doing things more often than you don’t are what actually lead to long term consistent change.
And the process, the day to day, is so much more pleasant because you don’t constantly feel like you’re failing
This show is really about simplicity and some very simple strategies that make such a difference.
So as we kick off this new year, as the wellness marketing messages drumbeat of all-or-nothing thinking, go hard or go home are so loud, and where our own brains are naturally drawn toward all-or -nothing thinking, I just want to extend this invitation to you for Two Out of Three.
If you think about that trend line on Real Food Whole Life, and how it spikes in January and falls back in February, maybe think about your own trend line as a really long slow climb.
Maybe in the short term it spikes and falls again and again, but over time imagine that line slowly climbing.
You don’t need a perfect life to practice wellness.
Once we replace this idea that we need perfect in order to make progress, with kindness, things change.