TraceyThere are plenty (millions probably) of people who make fitness and healthy eating a way of life.  There are millions more who have probably never exercised once (sigh). Then there are those go in and out of the fitness world and get frustrated when they don’t see lasting results. These yo-yo fitness people will always be frustrated simply because they are simply doing it wrong. If you want lasting results, you have to be consistent. Simple as that.

As with most things, consistency is the key to success. I should re-phrase that and say that consistency is the key to long-term success. Sure you may work out like it’s your job for two months and may slim and tone yourself down three sizes but if you then stop the process it won’t stick.

This seems like common sense though, right? It is, but the trap that a lot of people fall into, is that they want the quick fix or the magic bullet for something in particular (wedding, reunion, travel, headshots, etc.). Whenever someone comes me with the goal of ‘I need to lose three dress sizes in two months’, the first thing I say is ‘sure, I can help you achieve that goal’ and the second thing I say is ‘so after this two months is up, do you want to stay those three dress sizes (or pant sizes) smaller or do you want to go back?’ Most people look puzzled because they don’t think long term. They want what they want, right now because we live in a culture of immediate gratification.  Not much thought goes into to what happens after the immediate goal is reached. What then?  

Exercise and fitness are a way of life and something you choose to do long term not near term. Thinking only about the immediate goal will almost guarantee disappointment in the end.  A short-term goal also seems to be associated with anxiety, stress and such a sense of urgency that you tend to lose steam because the process is mentally and physically exhausting. Instead, start small and stay consistent with it. If there is an immediate goal in mind, great, commit to it and then commit to staying on the same fitness path for at least six months after you have reached your goal.

You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised that when there isn’t a deadline looming overhead, the process becomes more enjoyable rather than something you have to cross off your daily to do list.– Jessica Kuiken

Jessica Kuiken is a Los Angeles based Certified Pilates Instructor.  You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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