Staying Consistent In The Gym Used to be Hard: Then I Started Using “The Habit Pyramid”
When I first discovered this, I felt like what Einstein must’ve felt like discovering relativity, almost like I had figured out the underlying fabric of reality.
And in fact, this one daily habit has produced more success in my health, happiness, and life more than any other habit I’ve done before.
It’s something that I call “the habit pyramid.”
The Habit Pyramid
So how does the habit pyramid really work, and how does it help you really stay consistent?
You’ll quickly see that staying the course isn’t about grind it out willpower, discipline sent from the gods, or just forcing yourself to do grueling workouts.
How to Stay Consistent: Use The Habit Pyramid
* And if you make each day perfect – cough *MASTER THE DAY* cough – your life can be incredible
When I first started interviewing people that lost 100 pounds, I was stuck on this one paradox that I kept coming up against.
Why do so many pursue the same goal for decades and decades, and don’t get results?
In other words, almost no one that hops on the phone with me or joins a course is trying to lose weight for the first time – it might’ve been the fifth or tenth time.
Why did it take Tom this long to join a course and lose 44 pounds in just 4.5 months? (Just got this email a few weeks ago). Plus, he started his own home business to be happier too.
If that’s the case, why does it appear that none of us change?
I realized it’s because we change the tactics – the guru, the plan, the diet, the book – without ever changing who we are.
Tom finally got sick and tired of feeling sick and tired – and changed his story for the better.
Think about it:
Let’s say you take an insanely insecure person, and put them in a relationship.
The relationship is struggling because Billy is so insecure about his girlfriend leaving him, that he keeps sabotaging it.
He reads a couple books on fixing his relationship: one says to learn his partner’s love language, then the other one says to be more affectionate, and the third says to leave love notes.
Those all go great, but he’s still insecure. And because he’s still insecure, it still pisses off his girlfriend, and they break up.
He tried to change all the external tactics: the strategies, without changing at his core, who he is. Improving upon his flaws and subtle weak points.
What about finances?
We all *know* to save a few hundred dollars a month for retirement, but how many of us actually do it – even if we can afford to?
Ultimately, it’s the exact same story for weight loss.
Why is it that so many of us keep changing plans without getting the success we want?
It’s because we’re the same people.
How do we change?
We have to change what we do on a daily basis – it’s that whole idea that how we spend our days, is how we spend our lives.
And we do that by changing daily habits – so the habit pyramid I created to help figure this out and predict exactly where I would be in a year.
In other words, if there wasn’t something there on my pyramid, it’s obvious I wasn’t doing it at the daily level, and thus, probably wouldn’t reach the goal I wanted.
I later realized that you can predict where you’ll be a year from now, basedon the habits you do – right now – today.
So if I eat crappy today, I know I’ll eventually gain weight, then feel crappy, and feel emotionally crappy.
But if I eat well, I feel good, then I know i’m probably going to stay slim in a year.
Here’s what that really looks like in action:
What’s so cool about this is that it doesn’t matter whether you want more financial success, a better marriage, or just to lose weight – this same exact success principle applies.
The SAME exact principle leads you to success or failure, in all of them. That’s why I feel like once you get this, you really understand what it takes to not only achieve weight loss goals, but any life goal.
Here’s how it works.
Step 1: write out your entire schedule, hour by hour.
Personally, I do this on Sundays, just taking 20-30 minutes to go through it.
But I want you to actually write out – hour by hour – exactly what you do every day, including the weekend.
It won’t take that long because, chances are, you do the same things every day for large chunks of time (sleep, work, TV, etc.).
Then, break it down into a few caterogies: health, finances, spirituality, contribution, relationships.
I want you to specifically hone in on the weight loss habits (duh, obviously), but write out everything so you’re building an overall fulfilled life, not just a fit one.
Step #2: Color and code them.
You can either use a marker to color code them, or use the calendar app in mac (maybe windows has one too), or use the google calendars function to create a colorful calendar:
Now, plot everything.
Time spent in the gym (or not in the gym), when you go out for meals – are they cooked, or eating out? Are you meditating or going to yoga? Or are you watching TV after work for 2-3 hours?
Just be honest with yourself, and plot it.
The reason for the coloring is that you can easily spot trends, for example, I’m sure for most of you, the middle of the day is going to be the same color and same thing (work).
It makes this painfully clear: e.g. if there’s nothing in my weight loss quadrant (no food habits, no exercise planned, no reflection), I know I probably won’t be where I want to be.
I know I probably can’t count on being slim and healthy
Since our life is a reflection of our days, which is a reflection of our daily habits. So when you know hour by hour what you’ve been doing or what you haven’t been doing, THERE ARE NO SURPRISES.
Gee, wouldn’t that be nice?
Step #3: Figure Out What Needs Changing & Stack Them In There
Okay, so I realize I don’t have anything on the calendar (or enough) in my weight loss and health quadrant. What now?
Success is never an accident.
It’s all there, in plain sight.
If you aren’t happy with the way things are going with your health and weight, change the daily habit stack here.
It’s all right there. So if things aren’t working, put in a few tiny habits in your schedule.
Green juice M-W.
10 minute walk, Tues and Thurs the first ten minutes of my lunch break.
Get it on paper.
Staying Consistent & More On The Up and Down Road To Your Dream Body
So how do you really stay on track?
First, you do the habit pyramid, and you see where you are now.
Are there exercise and weight loss, wellness habits scheduled in there?
If not, what are the new habits you can put in there?
Can you time block a 10 minute meditation + smoothie in the morning?
Can you time block a 20 minute walk directly after work to ensure that you really do it and get it done?
Next, think about what your vital few habits are going to be.
For starters, make sure you start with nutrition. Like I talked about in the last article here on how much to eat, figuring out what you eat is important because it determines almost everything else.
Just to be safe, go back and read that article, since it gives you your vital few habits.
Then, do the the weekly habit pyramid and review.
This week did you do those things you said you would? Did you have cook/go for a walk/meditate directly in your calendar?
Whether you do, or you don’t, now you already know exactly what your trajectory is going to be.
Think about it – how much more likely are you to do something when it’s on your calendar? It’s printed there in plain sight for you to see, and then each week you’re also taking time to review it and reflect on what’s not working?
This is so much different from just trying to “force” yourself to get to the gym – it’s actually almost a fun exercise utilizing the habit pyramid.
Dream Body Is Opening Soon
This habit pyramid theory is the basis for my online weight loss course: Dream Body, which shows you how to lose your next 10, 20 or 30 pounds (or more) by changing tiny nutritional habits.
It’s based off extensive interviews I did with people that lost 100+ pounds and kept it off years later.