Levels of sustainability for a “healthy lifestyle”
If you’re on a health and fitness journey, you’re likely after the mysterious “sustainable approach.”
You know, the approach you can do for the rest of your life with minimal effort while achieving or maintaining your goals.
I hate to break it to you, but some effort is always required for sustainability.
Here’s the thing about sustainable healthy lifestyles
There isn’t one comprehensive definition of what’s considered sustainable in health and fitness.
That’s because what’s sustainable for me might not be sustainable for you. We have different goals, habits, and struggles, so we can’t use a cookie-cutter approach when it comes to creating a sustainable lifestyle. It just doesn’t work that way.
At KJO Coaching, we always get to know our clients’ goals, current habits, and where they are struggling. Without that information, we can’t help them create the necessary foundation for a sustainable lifestyle.
What is sustainable?
Are you working towards a goal that is “sustainable”... like forever?
Goals like healthier eating, frequent exercise, drinking enough water, stress relief, etc.
Or maybe you’re focusing on a “sustainable” goal that isn’t sustainable all the time?
Perhaps it’s a temporary diet or building phase, a reverse diet, a different method of training, etc.
Or maybe you’ve got a “sustainable” goal that’s only doable for a shorter time?
This goal could be a more aggressive or shorter dieting phase, competition prep, etc.
Or maybe what you’re working on is “sustainable” for VERY little time?
It could be cutting out alcohol for 1-2 weeks to see how you feel, a week of harder training before you take a deload, etc.
As you move down this list, you’ll notice that each of these levels of sustainability is less realistic for the long term, and they require an increasing amount of effort.
It’s fine to want these aggressive short-term goals, but...
You must lay a foundation first
The above levels of sustainability are also a step progression.
Before you tackle any short-term sustainability type goals, you MUST focus on the first step: foundational healthy behaviors.
Things included in this foundation can look like: sleep, hydration, vegetable/fiber intake, stress relief, daily sunlight exposure, and moving throughout the day.
I don’t want to hear “I want to do a competition” or “I want to follow this intense program” BEFORE you’ve laid down the foundations.
If you don’t have some “forever sustainability” in your foundation, even doing things like cutting out alcohol for a bit might not make a huge difference because you’re not taking care of yourself in general.
It’s hard to feel the difference between really unhealthy and pretty unhealthy versus healthy and not healthy. That’s why you have to create a foundation for yourself and work your way up from there.
MOST PEOPLE jump to the top step and dive into something that’s only sustainable for a very short period of time.
This ultimately results in failure because they didn't first lay some foundational steps.
You can have short-term goals too
Once you’ve got your foundation laid out, you can transition into the shorter-term goals. That would be things like intensifying your training sessions or cutting out alcohol. At that point, you’ll actually be able to see a difference from implementing these changes.
Clients at KJO Coaching often have "short-term sustainable" goals. They're a fun challenge!
BUT we don’t dive into that until AFTER we’ve addressed that first step.
Lastly, “effortless” and “sustainable” aren't synonymous.
You need to put in the effort to eat healthy, work out, prioritize sleep, self-care, etc.
It will get easier with time, but it will always require some level of effort.
And until you accept this and the importance of a “forever foundation,” you’ll keep attempting to jump to that very top step and falling on your face.
I don’t want you to fall on your face! I want you to create that forever foundation and fall in love with living a healthier life.
If you’re looking for a coach to help you build this foundation and support you, apply for a spot on the team at KJO Coaching. If you’d prefer to get started on your own, check out our 4 Week Fit Foundations.
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