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There are many challenges that someone can face on the road to health. Anything from unsupportive friends and family to an unexpected life stressor like job loss. Yet, those who are successful in achieving their health goals stay persistent through those difficult challenges and stay consistent when maintaining their health. Let’s take a look at what this means and how we can apply it to our lives.

Persistence refers to continuing firmly in a course of action in spite of fatigue or frustration. One of the most effective tools for staying persistent is a simple change in vocabulary. Wherever you previously said “I can’t” change it to “I don’t.” Here’s an example, instead of saying “I can’t skip the gym today” say to yourself “I don’t skip the gym.” Or, if you previously said “I can’t have dessert” say “I don’t eat dessert.” This simple shift is empowering as it enhances our commitment to the course of action and helps us to take ownership of our choices. Also, commitment is a core component of persistence.

While persistence can help overcome challenges, staying consistent is what produces changes in our health. One of the most effective tools for staying consistent involves rewarding yourself for sticking to your plan and reminding yourself why you want to stay healthy. Examples of rewards include a new yoga mat for consistently attending a yoga class or a new outfit once you’ve gone down a few sizes. Rewards can also be social so go ahead and be grateful and savor that compliment your friend gave you about how good you look! Reminding yourself of why you want to stay healthy can include keeping a “before” picture around to look at from time to time, or keeping a picture of you and your grandchildren playing at the park.

Therefore, in order to achieve and maintain your health goals, you have to be persistent and stay consistent. Be persistent by increasing your commitment to your healthy course of action by using the phrase “I don’t” when confronted with fatigue or difficulty. Stay consistent by rewarding yourself for sticking to your healthy course of action and remind yourself of why you are living this new, healthy life.

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