What really works: the quick, easy, shred 10 pounds in 10 hours approach to weight loss or the sustainable, consistent, compounding approach? I would put my life on the line to say that consistency and compound improvements are what really works when it comes to wellness.
There is no easy fix or magic button to help you lose weight. There is no 10-day program that will solve all of your health problems and give you results that will last a lifetime. However, there is one way you can spend that 10 days to help you move towards your goals, and that is to find what works for you to provide a firm foundation for long-lasting health.
Your body is amazing. It can do so many things to maintain homeostasis, which is the tendency to change physiological processes to retain steady equilibrium in the body. What this means is that if you all of a sudden cut your daily average caloric intake by 500 calories, that your body may be able to slow your metabolism in order to maintain your weight. If you suddenly stop drinking as much water as before, guess what? Your body sends out the signal of thirst and you’ll likely drink some more water.
This equilibrium can be good and bad. It can be bad in the sense that it makes change very hard. Our bodies and minds tend to not like change. However, we can use this same principle to our advantage. If we can find a state of homeostatic, or consistent, change to help us move towards our goals, then we will find that so many things are possible.
What we need to do to bring long-lasting change to how we work or feel is to simply create something sustainable. Creating something sustainable can be easy or hard depending on the person, but the same ideas apply. By creating a sustainable solution, over time small differences accumulate into something amazing. And these sustainability practices include things in the form of habits and routines.
Habits are settled regular tendencies, often ones that are hard to stop. We’ve all heard of bad habits, but what if we had a large sum of healthy habits? Wouldn’t that be awesome! Maybe being a human, a creature of habit, can be a good thing. By creating habits, we reduce the need to decide. Decision fatigue is a real thing, and if we can create an environment where healthy habits thrive, it will be so much easier to avoid the need to make a decision and rely on willpower alone.
Routines follow a similar pattern. Routines are sequences of actions that are regularly followed. Essentially routines are the sum of habits. This can be the best tool in our tool belts. If we focus on creating healthy habits that lead us in the right direction to accomplish our goals, then we create healthy routines. However, we cannot have one separate the other. Healthy habits need to be set up in such a way that the routine is healthy as well.
Of course, this is when personalization comes in. Not every habit is healthy for everyone, and not every routine is healthy for everyone. Find what is right for you and your goals. Find first the healthy habits (variables) that help you move forward. Next, find the healthy routine (equation) that optimizes the structure of those habits to continue moving you towards improvement. Once you have these aspects figured out, you will have the personalized solution for you. A sustainable solution. One that you can use as a firm foundation to live the life of your dreams and set you on course to living every day feeling your best.