5 Keys to Better Adherence
Adherence is King. We all know this. When it comes to training and nutrition, it won’t matter how ideal and perfectly crafted your program is if you don’t and can’t stick with it. Your goal should always be to come up with the best possible plan that you can adhere to.
So in that vein, here are 5 keys when it comes to Adherence.
1. Be clear about your Why
This is the underlying reason behind why you started this in the first place, and the reason that you will keep going despite challenges. Let’s face it, attaining any goal that we really want, any goal that scares us, any goal worth reaching, usually requires hard work, determination, grit, and even courage in the face of failure.
Discomfort is almost guaranteed in these scenarios because you are being stretched beyond your comfort zone. During such times when things don’t seem to be going your way, it's easy to begin questioning yourself “why am I even doing this”, “what’s the point”.
It’s exactly in those hard moments when you are close to quitting that having a clearly defined Why can save you from your chaotic thoughts, help you find your bearings, locate your own north star- your original purpose. Digging deep to first discover that Why, and then holding on to it will allow you to do difficult things, and maybe even learn to find joy in the process.
“The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits, in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Questions to ask yourself:
Think about something hard that you achieved in life- what was the process like? Realize that you have that grit in you. You do! It just needs to be translated to this different area in your life, to your new goal.
Now, ask yourself why do you want to achieve (insert goal) now? Dig deep and avoid surface level answers here. What makes it so important that you get to it? What would happen if you don't reach your goal? How does that make you feel?
What do you really want for yourself? Who do you wanna become? What is the best version of yourself? What do they do everyday? How would you behave today if you really wanted these results?
2. Start small
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
That’s right, when you have a big goal, it’s easy to be scared into inaction because ‘where do you start’ right? That’s exactly where this comes in. Set inconceivably easy targets for yourself… literally set yourself up for success.
I like to tell people that ‘If you are training for life, you should be training for life.’ What is the rush? We should be okay with making small changes to our lives and lifestyle because making incremental changes and maintaining it is what will bring long-term success. This also requires a change in mindset and approach, because rather than wanting to overhaul our lives completely from the get-go, we can focus on small things we can do that can move the needle right where we are right now.
Changing your body is a journey, building muscle is a very slow process, if you are after quick fixes you will be in for disappointment. You should be in it for the long haul because even when you reach your goal there will always be the next thing to achieve. So why not work with yourself, not against yourself, start small, establish a solid foundation, and build from there.
"Changes that seem small and unimportant at first will compound into remarkable results if you're willing to stick with them for years." - James Clear
Question to ask yourself:
What is ONE thing that you can do RIGHT NOW that will move you one step closer to your end goal? What is ONE 5 MINUTE task that you can do NOW that can move the needle?
What is ONE thing that you can do EVERY DAY that will move you closer to the person you want to become?
3. Adopt a growth mindset
Let's first start with defining what mindsets are- "Mindsets are the views that you adopt for yourself that profoundly affect the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the kind of person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value."
There are two main types of mindsets- a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.
A fixed mindset believes that your qualities are carved in stone. That you only have a certain level of intelligence, giftedness, personality, character. A fixed mindset places limits on your growth and potential and creates an urgency for you to prove yourself over and over. Will I succeed or fail? Will I feel like a winner or loser? There is a lot of black and white thinking that occurs for people who adopt fixed mindsets. "I am not an exercise person", "I've never been able to eat healthily" are just some examples. On the other hand, a growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts, your strategies, and help from others. Although people may differ in every which way- in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests- everyone can change and grow through application and experience. They believe that a person's true potential is unknown (and unknowable); that it's impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training.
Can you spot the difference? This may be third on the list, but having a growth mindset is KEY to your success. If you want to dig deeper into Mindset, I highly suggest reading Dr. Carol Dweck's work in her book, Mindset.
The good news here is that you are not hardwired into a particular mindset, which means at any point in time, you can decide to adopt a growth mindset. You are in control. Once you catch yourself beginning to think in ways a person with a fixed mindset does, particularly when it comes to failure, you can remind yourself that you can choose to instead focus on progress and not perfection. Begin to shift your focus towards doing your best, learning, and improving. View setbacks as motivating, and informative, they're a wake-up call, they don't define you or mean that you are a failure.
"The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives." - Dr. Carol Dweck
Question to ask yourself: Do I believe I am giving my best effort? If so, that's all you can do! If not, what is ONE thing you can do better?
How do I view failure? How do I view success? Is my self-worth tied to the achievement of my goals? Am I focused on learning and improving? Do I believe that I am able to achieve phenomenal results and success despite what my history may show?
4. Incorporate rewards
When you're trying to make a lifestyle change, and when you're in the thick of it all, it can be overwhelming and sometimes demotivating. It is exactly then that it is important to not just have a strong Why, but also to incorporate rewards into your journey.
Why? We get a dopamine kick out of it, and it keeps us going.
This may look like giving yourself a reward whenever you accomplish a small accomplishments or certain milestone in your journey. Rewards can be activities or things, it doesn't need to cost you a whole lot either. Maybe buy yourself a training outfit every 3 months. That’s just one example, make it personal to you!
Another way is to begin to make the things you are currently working on fun! Sharing from personal experience, based on my physique goals, I know bodybuilding style training has to be the meat of my program, but I still enjoy throwing weights around, pushing myself to my mental and physical limits once in a while, so I sign up for a Crossfit class once a week to give me that endorphin hit I crave and to mix things up a little. I look forward to this class every week, and this is one of the things that makes my daily grind feel not like a grind at all. Incorporate whatever you wish, but just make sure whatever you choose to do aligns with your values and goals, that way you are setting yourself up for success in the long term!
If you’re worried about becoming dependent on the rewards, don’t be. Over time, your motivation will become intrinsic, and your brain will associate your hard work with a surge of dopamine. From there, just working out or eating healthy will be its own reward!
"You basically get what you reward. If you want to achieve the goals and reflect the values in your mission statement, then you need to align the reward system with these goals and values." - Stephen Covey
Question to ask yourself:
What is ONE THING I can do to enjoy the journey that I am on? How can I incorporate rewards into the process that align with the goals I have?
5. Get accountability
Accountability is one of the most powerful weapons you have, if you choose to wield it.
This can be as simple as telling someone who cares about you and having them hold you accountable to what you say you’re gonna do. If you’re a social media user, make an announcement that you’re working on achieving (insert goal). Follow up with documenting your journey. Just the act of putting yourself out there puts pressure on yourself to follow through.
Lastly, I’m clearly biased when it comes to coaching, but I truly believe in it (I even have a coach myself! That’s how much I believe in it) and having a professional support you through your journey is powerful, they can be the pair of eyes that have gone before and experienced everything that you’re going through and seen success. This allows them to see potential pitfalls and can save you valuable time and avoid unnecessary disappointment.
"Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed." - Proverbs 15:22
Question to ask yourself:
Who do I have on my team? Who can I rely on to tell me the truth and keep me accountable to my goals? What is one thing I can do to increase accountability in my life and the likelihood of me reaching my goals?