What’s the biggest problem you’re struggling with in your nutrition and training right now? I recently asked everyone in the Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle (BFFM) Official Facebook group this question. The list of problems was long. But one problem was named more than any other: lack of consistency.
Life seems to keep getting in the way. Family, work, school, emergencies, injuries, menopause, poor sleep, fatigue, stress, depression, sweet cravings, lack of time, moving, new job… the list of reasons for getting knocked off track goes on and on.
Anything sound familiar?
I’m not saying they’re always excuses. These can all be legitimate issues that could derail anyone.
But my questions are:
1. Why do some people keep getting knocked off track so often?
2. Why do so many people get knocked off track and don’t get back on track quickly? Why are they off track for weeks or months?
If it happens to you, you might not know why. But I have a strong theory about what is the major cause:
It’s lack of focus.
If lack of focus is killing your consistency, you’re NOT alone. It’s NOT just you.
Getting distracted, then losing focus on your goals happens to almost everyone. Why? Because it’s human nature. It’s just life. Life happens.
When you’re distracted, you lose sight of your goals. Soon enough, you forget about them… until you step on the scale, put on a certain pair of pants, look in the mirror, see a photo of yourself, or have some other moment of realization that you lost your fitness again. Usually it’s only then that you re-start.
If you keep getting distracted and forgetting about your goals, this turns into a cycle and there’s never any consistency or permanent lifestyle change.
Fortunately, there are solutions.
It’s not enough for someone to simply tell you “Stay focused.” What you need are focusing tools. And I mean literally, physical tools.
There are 3 great ones I’ve used for years and share with everyone who will listen.
1. Written goals including a goal card.
First, put your all your goals in writing. That is, on paper. A “goal” that’s not written down is not a goal, it’s a wish, daydream, or a fantasy.
Then review your list of goals every day. It takes only minutes. It’s easy to do. (Unfortunately, it’s also easy not to do, unless you do it long enough so that it turns into habit).
Also don’t stop at a goal list. One of the simplest but most powerful focusing tools is a goal card.
You may have a list of long-term goals on paper (a master goal list). But also, write your number one mid range (12 weeks or so) goal on a card and put it in your pocket.
Reach into your pocket as many times a day as you can, pull out your card, and read your goal. As you do, visualize it. Feel it. This will not only keep you focused, it will embed your goal into your subconscious mind. This will change your behavior on autopilot.
You’ll never catch me without a goal card in my pocket. I’ve been using this tool for over 20 years with phenomenal success. Today I have a drawer full of goal achieved goal cards. Flipping through them is incredibly motivating to keep setting new goals and stay focused on them.
Try it yourself and the results will amaze you.
2. Training calendar
A goal is the first step, but you also need a plan. For body transformation, the first type of plan is your training.
To make your training plan a good focusing tool, it must be on paper. Hopefully you have a resistance training program on paper that lists your exercises and target sets and reps. You fill in your actual sets, reps and weight after every workout to track your progress.
But a list of exercises or workout log sheet alone is not enough.
The most powerful focusing tool is a training calendar. This is a sheet of paper with a square for each day, Monday through Friday, showing at least 4 weeks at a glance.
In each square you write in your workout days, naming the muscles you’ll be training. You must also include the time of day.
Then you post it in a place that forces you to see it daily, like your bedroom wall or refrigerator.
Every time you finish a workout, you cross it off with an X.
Psychologists have proven that this kind of focusing tool can double your adherence rate.
3. A meal plan.
Training is only one part of a body transformation plan. The other part is a meal plan, which includes:
3. Meal frequency
4. Meal timing
6. Food portion sizes
The ultimate nutrition focusing tool is a daily meal plan that you create proactively (so you know what you’ll eat in advance).
It contains all 6 details above and is printed on paper, showing your day of eating, meal by meal.
Then, you tape it up in a prominent place (like your refrigerator) where you’re forced to look at it every day.
What you have here is a trifecta of focusing tools – a goal card, training calendar and daily meal plan.
I don’t know any more powerful way to increase your focus and your consistency that’s so simple to do.
Your life will change if you diligently do this. And you CAN do this.
You’ll still get knocked off track. Like I said, that’s life. But you’ll get off track less often. And when you’re off, you’ll get back on faster. I guarantee it.
If you want to learn the art and skill of meal planning in detail, you will want to read every word in my newest e-book. It’s the only resource that teaches meal planning for fat loss combined with flexible dieting.
Remember, flexible dieting means you get to keep eating all your favorite foods and by doing so, you’ll actually lose and keep off fat better in the long term.
Click Here To Learn More About Flexible Meal Planning For Fat Loss
Author of the BFFM Guide To Flexible Meal Planning For Fat Loss
Founder, Burn the Fat Inner Circle: All-Natural, No BS Body Transformation
PS. A 4th tool? Just as I was about to publish this blog, I checked our Facebook group and saw that someone made a comment about progress charts (for tracking track weight, body fat, and measurements weekly or bi-weekly). I instantly said to myself, “That could easily be the 4th focusing tool. We could also call it an accountability tool. Use all four of these tools, and you’ll be unstoppable. If your goal is fat loss, and you wanted to start with just one tool, I’d suggest a meal plan taped to your refrigerator. Why? because no matter how much you train, you won’t lose fat without controlling what you eat.
About Tom Venuto
Tom Venuto is a natural bodybuilding and fat loss expert. He is also a recipe creator specializing in fat-burning, muscle-building cooking. Tom is a former competitive bodybuilder and today works as a full-time fitness coach, writer, blogger, and author. In his spare time, he is an avid outdoor enthusiast and backpacker. His book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle is an international bestseller, first as an ebook and now as a hardcover and audiobook. The Body Fat Solution, Tom’s book about emotional eating and long-term weight maintenance, was an Oprah Magazine and Men’s Fitness Magazine pick. Tom is also the founder of Burn The Fat Inner Circle – a fitness support community with over 52,000 members worldwide since 2006. Click here for membership details