Taking the first step towards fitness can intimidating, but taking the second, third, and fourth steps can be just as hard. Motivation, whether it comes from a desire to lose weight, to train for a competition, to improve your mental health or simply to try to stay ahead of aging, is undoubtedly a key factor in keeping on the path. But without consistency you will never feel that the exercise or daily movement has become part of you and who you are.
I like to think that real lifestyle change occurs when someone who would never have thought of themselves as someone who ‘does exercise’ suddenly thinks of themselves as ‘a gym goer’ or ‘a runner’. And when it comes to change, there is a difference between motivation and consistency.
Motivation is the drive that you need to get yourself off the couch or out of bed. It’s the singular impulse to move and exercise. You need motivation to get yourself into the mood to take action, or to encourage yourself to work out.
Often, motivating yourself is crucial because deep down you don’t really want to do it. Motivation is fine in the short term, but without consistency, you will find that in the long-term exercise will be harder to maintain. We don’t often hang around doing too much stuff we don’t like doing.
Consistency isn’t necessarily about how intense or challenging an individual workout or training session needs to be. It can simply be based on how frequently embrace them. It’s by nurturing consistency that we all stand a much better chance of changing our longer-term habits.
So, how can you help create consistency? We all need to consider what we enjoy doing and what we truly believe is realistic in terms of time available, current fitness levels, who we train with, where we train, and how safe and comfortable we are completing this training.
Remember that doing something, even part of a training session or a lighter training session is better than doing nothing at all. This might also improve your consistency and even increase your levels of motivation.