You're very welcome to my latest podcast episode: Struggling with consistency, my five favourite top tips that I use on myself. I am so thrilled to be shooting another podcast episode because my mantra that I was mentioning in my last few podcast episodes about something is better than nothing, is really working out really well for me. It's taking away all the fear and the worry and the overthinking about not being good enough. And I am showing up in more ways than I have ever showed up by taking action, all from that simple little mantra: something is better than nothing. So let's get stuck straight into it.
Consistency. Consistency is what is going to get you results. It is the difference between you being successful at what you do and you not quite hitting your goals. It is the difference between getting results and not getting results. You can know and have all the knowledge in the world, but if you're not consistent with what you do, you just simply are never going to be consistent. You're never going to get results. You're going to go round in circles, which is really frustrating. You are going to feel like failure. It's going to be a constant struggle. I mean, when you're not consistent, every single workout is going to be tough because you're never going to get results. You're never going to be fit, which means you're always going to be exercising in an unfit way, which is hell. And you're always going to be feeling like what you're doing is not working because you're never getting results, because you're never consistent with what you do. It's a horrible trap to not be consistent.
And yet, I remember for years, I never ever thought for a second that it was my lack of consistency that wasn't getting me results. But recently I have gone on a crazy consistency buzz, and I'm going to share with you my tips to what I do. And it has really shown me that it's consistency that gets you there.
Also, when you're not consistent, you, you can also fool yourself into thinking that you are being consistent and then what you're doing isn't working. So it's a really horrible place to be in when you're not consistent. You're feeling like you're failing. You're feeling like what you're doing isn't working. You're feeling like you're back at square one the whole time. You feel like you're going around in circles and you've got all this stuff going on in your head when you're sporadically doing the stuff, when you're not doing it. And also then when you're working and getting on with your day-to-day life, you're feeling these feelings and you're thinking about it and it's just too much. So I want to share with you my top tips that I use on myself that has really helped me become consistent, especially over the past year. This past year has been transformative for me and my action steps. I show up a lot more. I'm consistent with everything I do.
My first tip is to drop your goals. I used to be absolutely goal crazy. I have had vision boards for the past 15 years. I love a good vision board, and God, I must share this with you guys on my Instagram, but I have a cork board with yellow and pink post-it notes. I'm looking at it now, and for the past 15 years, I have just had my goals there. Big goals up above where I can see every single day, and I've been writing those goals in my journal. And I have been goal focused until I decided at the end of 2022 to forget about my goals. I was so sick of staring at my goals and feeling bad that I hadn't hit them yet, that I was thinking to myself, there has to be another way. There has to be another way for me not to be feeling bad.
And another thing that I didn't really like about seeing my goals so often was it kept me a lot living in the future. And I don't want to be like that. I understand that life is for living now, and I'm all about finding the joy in every day and having goals. I love having goals, but I decided, "You know what, Jessica, for 2023, set your goals, but your vision board now is going to be your action steps." So my vision board now, which I'm looking at, has all the action steps that I do in a week. I feel good when I look at those action steps. It makes me want to keep up the good work. It reminds me in a really visible place of what my action steps are. But the cool thing is those action steps are going to get me my goals, but I'm looking at something tangible and concrete every week that's not making me feel bad.
The problem sometimes with being very, very goal focused is that if you're in a bad mood or you're just in one of those moods where you're not feeling so good about yourself, sometimes looking at your goals can make you feel 10 times worse. But regardless of the mood you're in, it can never really feel bad looking at your action steps because they're the action steps you actually want to do on a weekly basis and that you know can achieve and tick off every single week as opposed to goals where you're really driving towards something and sometimes you're not so sure if you're going to get there or not. And it's working amazingly for me, I must say this change for me. I'm showing up, I'm doing these action steps every single week, and it's also helping me when I'm being so action step focused, show me if I'm doing too much and helping me streamline.
As I mentioned to some of my clients the other day, my action steps are all about simplifying what I do. Making things better but simpler. And looking at my action steps every day helps show me where I'm duplicating on things or what I'm doing too much of, which is really amazing.
The second tip I have for you is to have less action steps. I have a client, she's been with me a long time now, but over the past few months she hasn't really been hitting her goals and she's been really frustrated. She hasn't been very consistent with her workouts or her healthy food, and it's been driving her crazy and she didn't know what was going on. And one day we were chatting on a coaching call and she mentioned just how busy she'd been recently with all the stuff going on in her personal life. And we both just thought, "That's it. You're doing too much. You're trying to fit too much in. You're in this really busy period of your life. Things have gotten a little bit crazy for you. You need to do less."
So we paired down her action steps, less workouts, less walks, less guidelines, and we made her eight action steps for the week into four. And she's absolutely flying it now. She feels so good from those four action steps that she's actually able to sometimes add a few more action steps on top of her action steps because she's feeling so good and not overwhelmed.
The real lesson there is to remind yourself to ebb and flow with the busyness and craziness of life. That sometimes when you're not feeling consistent or you're not consistent, it's because you're doing too much and you can feel overwhelmed. And if that's the case for you and you do feel overwhelmed, just strip it back a little bit and ask yourself, "Where can I do less so that I can show up better?" Maybe for me right now, it's that I do two workouts and a really long walk instead of trying to fit three workouts in and feeling really stressed out and feeling like I'm failing because I'm not getting the third one in.
So you're going from feeling like a failure to all of a sudden smashing your action steps. And you can do that with everything, all the different action steps you have. When it comes to your nutrition, your water, your walks, your exercise, your self-care, what action steps can I take out for me to actually move forward and succeed with less action steps? And I do this myself all the time. Now that I have my new vision board that has action steps on it, I can really, really see sometimes that I'm doing too much. Let's say the kids are off school and I'm just trying to keep up with those action steps. It can be sometimes the best thing you do to do less, do it to the best of your ability, and show up a hundred percent with less stuff than to try and do too much.
My third tip is to make exercise the priority. So if you're struggling with consistency with your fitness and health, your nutrition, everything, and you just feel like you're going around in circles. Maybe you have excess weight on your stomach or you're a little bit overweight or you're unfit and you just are asking yourself, "What is it? Why can I not be consistent?" And you're listening to this now and you're like, "Nope, Jessica, it wasn't tip one. No, it wasn't tip two," and you're still not sure what it is, then what I recommend you do is to just focus on moving your body.
Now, fitness saved my life. And this one tip by focusing just on the exercise brought me from a place where I was having panic attacks and feeling seriously anxious the whole time, to getting to a point where I started to feel really, really good. And the only reason I was able to do that was because I focused on one thing and that was exercise. And the reason I say this is because you feel really good instantly when you exercise. So from that platform, from that springboard, then are you able to start to look at other action steps and you start to feel better, you feel more productive and more calm and more in control. Whereas if you decide that you're going to focus on your food, for example, you're not going to get those feel-good hormones straight away, that feel-good buzz that you get from a workout, from focusing on your healthy eating.
But if you focus on the exercise and make just that one exercise a priority, one action step a priority, your exercise, you're going to feel good. You're going feel calm, productive, in control. You're going to feel much more calm and peaceful after a session, and that's going to help you eventually, maybe straight away, maybe not, make better choices in your day. Exercise really helps you make better choices. It helps you go to bed a little bit earlier. It helps you become more tired more naturally at nighttime. It helps you have a little bit of a spring in your step. It can take you from having a negative outlook in life to a more positive one. It can take you from feeling disorganized and frazzled to calm and in control. It can take you from worrying about the things you can't control to reminding yourself that you can control the controllables. It's terrific.
So if you are listening to this right now and you are struggling with consistency, parallel back, drop everything and say to yourself, "You know what? I'm going to focus on moving. I'm going to get 20 minutes of movement into my day every day, and that's going to be my only action step."
The fourth tip I have for you is to reflect and plan. Now, I find a lot of people that aren't consistent, don't really spend too much time reflecting and planning. But reflecting and planning is absolutely key for you to stay focused because remember that there's so many things pulling you in different directions as you go throughout your day. There's so many things that are trying to grab your attention, that it is so easy to have that shiny object syndrome where you are focusing on your workouts and your nutrition and everything's going great, and then all of a sudden you do a course in work or the kids need you or something comes up and all of a sudden all of your focus is gone.
But if you factor into your week, a few minutes on a Friday to reflect how the week went for you, i.e., what's gone well for you? Where do you want to improve on for next week? And then you also lay out your action steps for the week ahead, you're just going to constantly give yourself that little bit of focus, that little bit of reflection, and that's all it takes.
I was only chatting to a client there a few weeks ago who mentioned to me that she hadn't been able to make any of the check-ins in a while, and she hadn't even noticed that the sugar had crept in more than normal because she hadn't had that time to sit down on a Friday and go, "What's going well? Where do I need to improve on?" So you kind of go into your default autopilot habits that you may have been used to in the past if you don't check yourself, especially when you are becoming consistent at new habits that you may have only been adopting for the past year or less.
Definitely if you have started to exercise and eat healthy and you're feeling really good, definitely for at least a year, you need to be reflecting and planning for the week ahead. It's just so important because I mean, I notice with myself, I say to myself on a Friday, I do a bit of journaling. "Okay, what's gone well for you?" And I'm like, "Oh my God, cool. Actually, this has gone really well." And we do a wins of the week with my coaching clients in our members group, and it's just amazing to remember what actually went well for you.
And then what do you need to improve upon equally is so important. "Oh my God, I actually didn't get any walks with the dogs this week." "Oh my God, I actually think that I'm not eating after dinner, but if I think about it, three days out of the seven were the only days I managed to not eat sugar after dinner." So it's just a really good way to keep you focused and to just remind yourself of where you're at so that you don't get to a point where all of a sudden your clothes are feeling tight and you're like, "Shit, what happened? What did I do?"
My fifth tip I have for you is to have everything ready the day before. Now, I really struggled with this for a long time because I kind of was a bit resistant to it. I didn't want to have my day wrecked by thinking about the next day. And how do you reconcile that with living in the present and living in the moment? Well, easily now, not a bother on me because I know my day is going to run so much smoother. So I just want to share with you a few things that I use.
I use Asana, which is a free online tool that helps me project manage my work. So I always know what I'm getting done in a day. But on top of that, I also send an email to myself. For example, today, I'll send an email to myself for tomorrow, listing out the top most important things to do because I mean, if I wanted to do, I could get really bogged down in the small stuff and then I wouldn't be growing and moving forward. So it's really important to me to send an email to myself to tell myself what are the big things I need to get done? And then I get up the next day and I'm in work, and I look at that email and I'm like, "Yes." My gym bag. I lay out the clothes I'm going to wear for the next day and my gym gear for the next day, my towel, my shower gel, everything. I have decided my actual outfit of the day, and I have decided my actual workout gear for the day. So I have it planned to an absolute T.
Is it a day where I have to wash my hair or not wash my hair? And then I make sure that I have my breakfast planned the day before. Overnight oats, or else where I shoot the online workouts, I have porridge that I can make. So I'm always just super ahead of myself. And then you wake up the next day and your chances of being consistent and successful are so much higher because you're not chasing your tail and rushing around all day trying to get ahead of yourself. When actually with just a few little things the day before for the day ahead can make you super consistent and feel much more in control. And starting out, I must say, it does feel like a bit of a pain, but you do get so used to it and then you're just so fast. I mean, you come home or whatever, you've had your workout and you have your shower, and you just straight away get your bag ready for the next day. So you can do all these action steps really quickly without giving it too much thought.
And yeah, that's it. Nice. Simple podcast episode. I hope you found this helpful. They were my five top tips for consistency. And like with all the podcast episodes, if you found it helpful or you want to share your thoughts with me, let me know. Let me know how you found this podcast episode. And for the free resources and for all my guides and cheat sheets, you can go to my website, jessicacooke.ie. And don't forget to subscribe to my podcast on Spotify or Amazon or Apple. All my love. Take care. Bye.