Adjusting the dial


Today I want to talk about a strategy called “Adjusting the dial”.

One of the biggest struggles clients typically face when starting a new health and fitness routine is feeling bad when they aren’t able to do everything perfectly when life (inevitably) gets busy.

This can often lead to people throwing in the towel, or not bothering to do anything because they feel like if they can’t do it all, then why bother?

Otherwise known as “all or nothing” thinking.

However, this is often one of the biggest things stopping people from not only seeing results but also keeping them for the rest of their life.

You’ll have probably already heard me going on about the fact that you don’t have to be perfect to see results, so this is a way of applying it to your day-to-day actions…

Think of your health and fitness efforts like an adjustable dial.

When life is going well and you want to put in more effort, you dial your efforts up a notch.

When life is getting a bit messy and you want to make sure that you can juggle everything that is going on, you dial your efforts down a notch (or even 2).

By making small adjustments as the conditions of your life change, you’re able to keep moving forward and making progress rather than getting stuck or falling off the wagon.

For example, here is an illustration from Precision Nutrition on ways that you might adjust the dial of your movement and exercise efforts:

Adjust the dial scenario 1:

Imagine that you are currently extremely sedentary and doing no exercise at all (let’s say 0 out of 10 on the dial)…

Suddenly ramping things up to a 7 out of 10 on the dial (4 gym workouts per week and a hike on the weekend) is a BIG jump and likely to be unsustainable for long.

Instead, simply start by adjusting the dial up to a 1, 2 or 3. You’re much more likely to be able to sustain this and it will prepare you physically for the stages afterward.

Adjust the dial scenario 2:

Imagine that you’re a 7 out of 10 on the dial above (4 gym workouts per week and a hike on the weekend), but suddenly a load of things come up in your life that take your mental and physical energy.

“Falling off the wagon” and dropping down to doing no physical activity (0 out of 10) just because life is not going so well is also an unnecessarily BIG jump and a lot of lost opportunity for movement.

Instead, adjust the dial down to a 3 or a 4 so that you have more time and energy to deal with what’s going on. This way not only do you not lose momentum which will make getting back into things easier, but keeping movement in your life will improve with your mental health and focus to help with whatever is going on.

Be More “Always Something”

I mentioned earlier about being “all-or-nothing”.

Well, the opposite of that is to be more “always something”.

No matter what’s going on in your life, you need to have daily habits that help you get some kind of movement in every single day.

Habits that you can adjust up or down depending on how life is going.

Hope that helps!

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