How many times have you started a diet only to realize afterward that it just wasn’t for you?
Probably too many times.
Maybe you had to give up all of your favorite foods because they weren’t “approved” and you’re miserable going without them. Perhaps someone told you that you needed to prep all your meals in bulk, but you absolutely hate the taste of old food. Or maybe you didn’t want to weigh and measure every freaking morsel of food you put in your mouth and it drove you bonkers doing it.
Anytime you’re doing something doesn’t really jive with you, there’s a good chance you won’t keep up with it consistently and increase your chances of falling off the wagon. And without consistency, it’s just not going to work.
Ok, sometimes through sheer determination, you can stick with it, but what about after you decide to dial it back or stop altogether? There’s a good chance you go right back to old habits and be back where you started or worse. This is part of the reason why yo-yo dieting happens. Whatever you decided to do when you were trying to ‘dial it in’ wasn’t something you could sustain over a long period and back you go.
You have a much stronger chance avoiding the yo-yo and even getting better results if you honestly ask yourself ONE question before you decide to implement or change something with your nutrition. You’ll also save a lot of your time, energy, money, and sanity.
In my opinion, this single question is the best litmus test for gauging the likelihood of you being consistent with your nutrition and your potential for success. Before making any kind of diet or lifestyle change, I always ask myself or any of my clients:
How ready, willing and able are you to make this change?
Let’s look more in depth and define ready, willing and able and why they are each important to guage. Then I’ll share how you can evaluate yourself before you decide to improve your nutrition or really anything in your life.
I define readiness as your ability to start right away. To be ready means you are fully prepared and have everything you need take action. All too often we try to start something that we aren’t truly prepared for and then nothing gets done.
Instead of jumping in headfirst into something without thought, ask yourself if you are ready and totally prepared to start right now. If you aren’t, you need to find something you are more ready to do.
For example: Let’s say it’s Sunday and you want to prep all your meals and snacks for the entire week, but you have no ideas for recipes, no food in the house, all your cookware is dirty, and you’ve already booked out your entire day with other activities.
It's almost guaranteed you won’t be meal prepping this week and you need to figure out something else you can definitely do right away.
Long-term you should work on being more prepared to do the things you want, however, focus on doing something right now that will move you towards your goals. It doesn’t have to be perfect or the best option. It only needs to be good enough to get started and get things rolling.
Willingness is your desire or eagerness. It’s what you want to do. Understand there is an important difference between something you want to do rather than have to do.
Having to do something is an obligation. It’s usually viewed more like work or a chore plus there’s usually some kind of punishment or negative consequence associated with not doing. Eventually, you end up dreading the thought of what you’re having to do or hating it altogether. You’ll procrastinate or blow it off the first opportunity you get which makes sustaining it nearly impossible.
Whereas if you want to do it, there’s incentive and reward. You look forward to it. You’ll make it a priority and it’ll get done. It makes you feel good to be consistent and you’ll likely keep doing whatever it is you're doing for a long time.
Being able means having the power, skill, means, or opportunity to do something. It also means having the confidence that you can do something.
Sometimes we do things we’re not sure that we can actually do or we bite off more than we can chew. To be fully able means that without a shadow of a doubt, you feel confident in your ability to do the task. You have the power, skill, means, and opportunity. You don’t have things holding you back, and if you do, you are ready and willing and able to work around them.
Evaluating your readiness, willingness, and ability
Now that you understand what ready, willing and able means, you can now evaluate yourself each time you plan to change some aspect of your life.
Note: the key here is to be totally honest with yourself. If you aren’t, the truth will eventually come out anyway. This is your opportunity to really make a solid change, so avoid learning the hard way and be honest with yourself!
Ask yourself to rate you readiness, willingness, and ability from 1 to 10, with 1 being "hell to the naw" and 10 being "hells yea".
If you’re not at least a 9 for all three, you need to revise what you’re trying to do.
Ask yourself, what would make you more ready, willing or able?
Consider this scenario: let’s say you aren’t very ready, willing or able to track your macros for all 3 meals you eat a day.
Think of ways to simplify or reduce. Perhaps tracking macros for every single meal is something you’re not willing to do but you are way more willing to track for 2 meals a day. Do that instead and continuously evaluate if you’re more ready, willing and able to kick it up a notch to the full 3.
Pivot or switch gears if you need to. Maybe you’re not keen on tracking macros at all or really changing anything about the way you eat. Pivot and try something else that can still move you in the right direction. Perhaps you’re more ready, willing and able to exercise more frequently. Focus on exercise and then revisit and re-evaluate your eating habits.
Remember, before making a change to your nutrition or lifestyle habits, consider taking 5-10 minutes and asking yourself how ready, willing and able you are to make that change.
If you’re not at least a 9 out of 10 ready, willing, or able, either simplify or reduce the demand of what you’re doing or switch gears and work on another aspect of your nutrition or health to find something that you’re more ready, willing and able to do.
Also be prepared to accept the tradeoffs when simplifying, reducing or switching gears. If you’re not ready, willing and able to go full steam ahead, you have to be willing to accept less. The effort we put in usually dictates how much we’re going to get in return. However, less may still be plenty and that really depends on what your goals are.
Lastly, continue to evaluate yourself over time. Just because you're ready, willing and able now in your current situation doesn’t mean that you will be months down the line. If you find your consistency slipping, the first thing I would do would be to look what you’re currently doing and again assess yourself. You may find that you need to change some things up to keep you on track. On the contrary, you could be completely ready, willing and able to step your game up and do more.
The point is: always meet yourself where you are and you'll have more success being consistent.
Have a question about this? Leave one below and I’ll be happy to answer.