I've been mulling this over a lot recently, and along with my coach, had some really clarity on this topic.
Y'know how some ideas are helpful until they are not, and you start to feel there's a huge disconnect somewhere, you just can't put your finger on it?
And for me, this idea was consistency.
And I bet the idea of consistency brings up a LOT of feelings for you too.
Among them, is there frustration ('why can't I just be consistent with this!?'), an expectation (I really *should* be more consistent with this), and a judgement ('I used to be consistent with this one thing, and for some reason I just stopped doing it')?
If yes - then I hear you, and you're not alone.
Well, if you need it, here is an invitation to DITCH the idea of consistency entirely from your health and fitness goals (or at least, integrate a definition of it).
Because endless consistency isn't/doesn't:
allow for real human emotions, life events or even daily life challenges etc.
makes out progress is linear. It's not.
it can drive cycles of productivity and burn out
I often say to clients that an idea, boundary or habit etc. should be baggy enough to live in. (If you love that idea, have it, it's yours.)
For example, I have been running for 10+ years. Have I run consistently over those 10 years? Yes and no. I've not stuck to a training plan. I've had weeks and months off. I had a straight couple of years where I only ran a couple of miles a week. I've sacked it off probably more often than not. Honestly, I've run on and off. Not consistent right?
Here are two new ideas you can use to replace (or integrate: these ideas can fit together, it's not one or the other):
1. Cyclical living.
I will shout this to the rooftops and beyond however many times it takes.
Life comes in SEASONS.
No season is any better or worse than any other season. It's the same as the weather, right? We don't lament that the flowers aren't blooming in winter - it is winter. We expect that from the season. It's no worse (in terms of nature) than summer, it is just different. In fact, winter is very, very needed for spring, and then summer etc.
We're not machines.
We sow, we tend, we bloom, we harvest, we lie fallow.
Take my running example: I've run on and off. There have been seasons where I've followed a training plan to be able to run a race, I've had holiday seasons where I haven't run, I've had seasons where I've recovered from injury, I've had seasons where I've just gone out to enjoy being outside. Are any of those seasons/goals any less valid than any others? In the context of my deep health over the span of my life, I would argue no. But I'm not sure this experience fits into the 'traditional' definition of consistency.
So invite you to embrace the seasons of your life: its goals, its needs, its version of consistency, its requirements, challenges and amazing joys.
Stop holding yourself up in to that one season of your life.
And embrace the messiness and exactly right-ness of the season you're in (without denying you can have goals, and visions for yourself in future seasons also).
It invites way more compassion for yourself.
And I've never seen anything but life-changing transformation happen from that place.
The second idea to replace/integrate into consistency is regeneration. There is a difference here between regenerative living, and living in cycles. After all, modern mono-culture farming works in seasons. We sow those vast fields of wheat in spring and harvest them in autumn.
And yet, if you look at modern farming methods with their vast quantities of fertilizers and pesticides, you can see the issue.
Modern farming may be cyclical, but it's not regenerative.
It does NOT leave the soil in better condition than when it started.
And eventually, without the constant stream of interventions, the soil wouldn't be good enough to grow anything at all.
So for your health and fitness: how does each season contribute to the next? How does it prepare the soil? If it's been a particularly difficult season, what does slowing down and integration look like? After activity, where's the rest?
You can only run on empty for so long.
In my running example, I might train hard for a race, hitting a total number of miles per week consistently, AND if I kept doing that incessantly I could end up burnt out, injured, or at least having lost my love of running. Instead, I might follow a season of hard training with much lower intensity. Because that prepares me better, mentally, physically, emotionally for the next season.
Remember, with these ideas it doesn't mean within a season that you might not have clearly defined goals, habits, skill-building etc. A clearly definition of consistency - specific to that season.
Regenerative living invites you to hold the vision of 'future you' constantly.
I find that a very hopeful, optimistic, inspiring vision to hold.
And when we hold that for ourselves, we also hold it for those around us too.
For the world.
I think that is incredibly important.
Don't you agree?
If you're curious about cyclical and regenerative living, then I am inviting you to come Home: my signature 16-week programme to come home to yourself. We spend 16 weeks diving deep and cultivating our relationship with our body, mind and relationship to food. You can find out more, and sign up, here.
Doors close 3rd September and we start on 4th September. I've already had two sign ups, so there's just 2 places left. Come on in.