I often use the word stickability to describe the ability to stick with a task until we reach our desired result. Although it’s not a real word, the concept is very real. Essentially, it is about doing what it takes. It is all about inner grit. I call it inner grit because some have the notion that ‘grit’, ‘perseverance’ or ‘determination’ are about physical exertion when actually they are all about mindset.
Most can appreciate that it takes a number of sessions over a period of time, to achieve any noticeable change in eating habits. Some, however, make a one-off appointment and come with the sole purpose of asking a multitude of questions. They are working on the assumption that gaining knowledge will improve their health. But the greatest predictor of improved health is not learning about nutrition. Knowledge, on its own, doesn’t make you healthy. More importantly, knowledge on its own, won’t give you stickability. However, when it is combined with a growth mindset, it can have a more powerful effect on improving health outcomes.
In our fast-moving world, stickability is hard to teach and live by. And yet, more than ever, stickability affects our success in so many parts of our lives: school, work, friendships, marriage and … health. With health, we often want quick results. And, for them to be, long-lasting. However, just like we can’t fast forward a section of a song and not miss any lyrics, we also can’t fast forward the middle part – the part requiring the insights, the attempts, the mistakes, the many ‘pick-myself-up-again’. These all give small doses of gains along the way, and are what help us to ‘get there.’
Here are five tips to improve your stickability:
- Be clear about your ‘why’
Being clear on your why, will give you clarity before you start. It will also serve to remind you, in moments of self-doubt.
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew
Don’t try and decrease your alcohol intake, consume less processed foods and take up exercising 5 days a week all in one go! Do one until you achieve success and then move on to the next change. Your success at having done one well, will give you a confidence boost and spur you on to do the next!
Schedule the ‘big rocks.’ These are the habits that will, in turn, influence your eating habits – such as planning shopping and food preparation, stress management and adequate sleep. The ‘small rocks’ are habits that have a smaller impact on eating habits and can be tackled in due course.
- Realistic time frame
Give yourself a realistic time frame to achieve a change. Don’t expect big results in small time frames. If you are not sure if your time frame is realistic, please seek professional support.
- All or nothing thinking
Having an ‘all or nothing’ mentality is very discouraging. Praise yourself for the small changes and any progress made. A “bad day” needn’t be the end of your health journey!