Starting a business is no easy task, and for someone like me who absolutely hates personal failure, it can be downright painful. In the past week, though, I have heard three different very successful give three pieces of advice. The first was to, “Go out and fail! I want to see you fail 50 times!”. The second was that “failure is required”, and the third was that I should “fail BIG”. Why is everyone telling me that I should fail? What kind of business leaders are these? But then I realized the simple truth: the only time you truly fail is when you quit.

So I will keep plugging away at building my business, even when things don’t seem to be going the way I want. Why? Because I believe I have something to share with the world, and I am going to keep sharing it.

What does this have to do with running? Well, I think failure is a HUGE part why people do not reach their goals. The truth is, our health and fitness journeys are rarely linear, sometimes not traveling in the direction we would like, or as quickly as we would like. Things get tough, schedules get busy, sicknesses come on and all our hard work begins to slide. Weight creeps back up, distance or speed goals aren’t reached on schedule, and slowly, or all at once, we give up.

So what brings success, in business and in running? What is the key? Consistency, consistency, consistency! Continuing to do, no matter what.

–   Miss your run for a couple days? Start up again, and get back into the habit.
–   Eat like crap over the weekend? Don’t punish yourself by going to the other extreme, but do make the decision to get back into your good eating habits.
–   Number on the scale go up? It is not the end of the world. There are different reasons the number may have gone up (like you are increasing your muscle!), but know that it fluctuates. Using a higher number on the scale as a reason to give up completely will only hurt you.
–   Not running as fast or far as you were before you got a cold? Keep plugging away and doing what you can (this is my personal advice for myself as I am dealing with this right now).

It’s not always going to be easy. It’s not always going to go the way you want it to. How can you stay motivated to remain consistent, even when the going gets tough? You need to find your “why”.

Similar to finding your goals, you need to go deeper than “I want to lose weight” or even “I want to be healthier”. Precision Nutrition taught me about the process of the 5 Why’s. Start with your big reason, let’s say “I want to be healthier”:

–   Why? Because I don’t want to be sick.
–   Why? Because I won’t be able to do what I want.
–   Why (or another wording to continue that question, such as “like what”)? I want to be able to be active with my grandkids as they grow.
–   Why? Because I lost my grandmother young, and don’t have special memories with her (yes that was only 4 Why’s, but you get the idea).

Okay, so you want to be healthy because you want to be able to make special memories with your grandkids.
The goal remains the same: to be healthier. But psychologically the motivation factor is so much higher. So next time you get frustrated with the process, remember your Why, and don’t quit!

One other key to consistency I want you to keep in mind is that the best way to build consistency is to start with small habits.  If you go from no fitness regimen to “I am going to run or spend an hour in the gym every day!”, there is a good chance you are going to not achieve that goal right away, fall off, and end up quitting.  Start with a smaller goal, but something you can do consistently.  I think that is often the problem with nutritional change.  Waking up and saying you are dropping all grains may not be the best way to maintain a consistent change (though for some people, cold turkey may be best– you need to know yourself).  Making smaller, easier consistent changes is most likely the best road to success.