Skill — Time Blocking/Planning and Prioritizing Look ahead to your week. Decide on how many hours or blocks of time you want to dedicate to working out. Physically block out that time in your calendar. This is simply step one. With each block of time you input into your calendar, you are setting your best of intentions. You understand it may not be followed to a tee and that’s ok. Having that extra nudge of a calendar appointment with yourself is the first line of defense against defaulting on your health-promoting behavior practice.
Skill — Set and Maintain Minimums Looking ahead at what you planned in terms of a health-promoting behavior like working out, ask yourself what is the smallest amount of working out that you would be happy with. If you had zero motivation and life was coming at you fast, what is your bare minimum workout? How could you score a win on a day when your time block for working out disappears or shrinks?
Skill — Obstacle Planning After you have planned ahead and added your workouts to your calendar, you should stop and say to yourself “there is no way this week will go exactly as I have planned it”. There will be obstacles in your way. You are going to be stressed multiple times. In order to not be caught off guard once again, spend time thinking ahead about your obstacles. Take a piece of paper and write “If” on one side, and “Then” on the other side. In the “If” column, brainstorm all the things that tend to come up as obstacles to you working out. In the “Then” column, make a plan for what you will do if you encounter that obstacle (and you will).
Skill — Debrief Another skill of flexible consistency is the debrief. This is where you look back at the evidence you have gathered over the past couple of weeks. Did you workout as consistently as you would have liked? Are you happy with that number? What stopped you? What worked in countering those obstacles? What didn’t work? What else can you do to stay on course when conditions are less than ideal? Try everything like an experiment. Constantly tinkering and asking questions and studying the results will help you find the right recipe for flexible consistency and success. Over time you will see what your norm is and be able to hold yourself accountable to that line and/or work to supersede it at times. If you look back and see that you hit your goals 70–80% of the time, great work. You can be reassured that you are most likely living in that flexible consistency zone.
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