If you have ever tried to lose weight, increase your fitness, change your relationship, master a craft, or tried to transform any other part of your life but failed then it is likely that your approach was unsustainable - lacking the adherence principle.
Adherence refers to the consistent application and commitment to the principles, habits, and actions necessary for transformation. In this blog, we will explore why adherence is the most important thing when it comes to transforming different areas of our lives, and how to create greater adherence in the areas you wish to transform.
My thoughts about adherence began when I read about a study "Comparison of Weight-Loss Diets with Different Compositions of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates" published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2009. This study examined four popular diets: Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and the LEARN program.
The study found that adherence to a particular diet was the most critical factor in achieving weight loss, rather than the specific macronutrient composition of the diet. The researchers observed that participants who were able to adhere to their assigned diet, regardless of its macronutrient profile, experienced significant weight loss.
There are several recommended principles for weight loss like daily activity, strength training, balanced macronutrients, and micronutrients, etc. But the key principle of weight loss is being in a calorie deficit until desired weight is reached. So, technically any diet will work if one can stick to that key principle.
The best weight loss strategy is the one you will actually stick to.
This is why it is essential to find a weight loss that aligns with personal preferences, suits individual lifestyles, and can be consistently maintained over time.
By prioritizing adherence, individuals can establish sustainable dietary habits that lead to long-term weight management and overall well-being.
This might mean extending your goal completion date, but it will be worth it because you will adhere and actually get the results.
The same rule applies to all changes we desire in our life.
Be it weight loss, fitness, a more fulfilling relationship, enhanced communication in the workplace, savings of money, etc, the strategy that works is the one you will stick to.
If one cannot adhere to the principles and habits that will create the transformation, then the transformation will not stick.
To truly change we must become an apprentice of the change we desire. Until the change becomes who we are.
There are many people in our culture selling the "fast approach to weight loss.", "create a six-figure business from scratch in six months." or some other "get it quick and easy" sales pitch.
Unfortunately, these manipulative sales tactics that poison the marketplace and damage people's trust are all too common these days.
One thing I have learned is that if what a person is selling is too good to be true, then it's probably safest to stay clear from them, or at least investigate deeply before purchasing.
If these sales pitches were true then we would see a lot more of your friends with six-packs and six-figure businesses. But we don't.
What we see and hear is those friends saying "I am on this new diet", "I can't eat that. I am being good.".
Or, "I got this new course or coach, it's going to help me build a six-figure business in six months."
Six months turn into twelve. Working unsustainably with the six-figure promise in mind, sacrificing time with their partner and friends, deteriorating relationships, and health, and struggling to admit they were deceived by the person or company who made them this promise.
Burnt out and defeated - Willpower-focus VS Mastery-focus
These approaches are all willpower-focused, rather than mastery-focused, and they often result in an eventual crash and burn.
Why? Because there was no shift in identity. There is no commitment to mastery.
Feeling burnt out and defeated the person inevitably returns to their original identity with all their original actions and habits. They put back on the pounds they lost or go back to their original job, etc.
Creating permanent transformation requires a transformation of your identity
To make a permanent change in any area of life requires a permanent shift in habits.
To make a permanent shift in habits requires a permanent shift in identity (who you are).
And to create a permanent shift in identity requires sticking with something long enough until it integrates into your lifestyle and your personality.
This requires a commitment to mastery and a willingness to be an apprentice of the change you desire.
This is where the adherence principle comes in.
Transforming your identity requires a commitment to change over a longer period of time.
Occasionally a massive life event or realization can shift a person's identity and habits immediately. But I have found more subtle, consistent efforts integrated into one's lifestyle a more common approach in stories of permanent transformation.
Either way, the mastery of anything requires a commitment to the craft.
In our journey of personal growth and transformation, we often come across various strategies, techniques, and advice that promise to bring positive changes to our lives. While all these elements are very important to our development, there is one crucial factor that allows the transformation to occur and stick - adherence.
Building Discipline and Consistency:
Adherence breeds discipline and consistency, two fundamental elements for any successful transformation. When we adhere to a particular approach or practice, we develop the discipline to prioritize and execute it regularly.
Consistency allows us to establish new habits, rewire our mindset, and create lasting changes. Whether it's pursuing a healthier lifestyle, advancing in a career, or cultivating meaningful relationships, adherence provides the necessary structure to follow through on our intentions.
Overcoming Challenges and Obstacles:
Transforming areas of life often involves overcoming challenges and obstacles along the way. Adherence becomes the anchor that keeps us grounded during difficult times. It serves as a reminder of our commitment, enabling us to persevere through setbacks, failures, and moments of doubt.
By adhering to our chosen path, we build resilience, determination, and the ability to adapt to unforeseen circumstances. It is through these challenges that true growth occurs, and adherence becomes the driving force behind our transformative journey.
Deepening Knowledge and Skill Development:
Adherence allows us to dive deeper into knowledge and skill development, leading to expertise and mastery. Whether we are learning a musical instrument, honing a craft, or expanding our professional skills, consistent adherence to deliberate practice is key.
By devoting regular time and effort, we accumulate valuable experience, refine our abilities, and unlock new levels of proficiency. Adherence fosters continuous improvement, allowing us to push beyond our limits and achieve greatness in our chosen endeavors.
Fostering Accountability and Self-Trust:
Adherence cultivates accountability and self-trust, two vital components in personal transformation. When we adhere to our commitments, we establish a sense of integrity and responsibility. We hold ourselves accountable for our actions and choices, taking ownership of our lives. This builds confidence, self-reliance, and a deep trust in our ability to create the changes we desire.
Through adherence, we become the architects of our destiny, empowering ourselves to shape our lives according to our vision.
Sustaining Long-Term Results:
True transformation is not a fleeting experience but a sustainable change that becomes an identity and lasts over time. Adherence plays a crucial role in maintaining the progress we have achieved. It helps us avoid the trap of short-lived motivation and ensures that our efforts yield long-term results.
By staying committed to the practices and principles that brought us success, we build a solid foundation for continued growth and evolution. Adherence becomes a lifestyle, embedding the transformed state into our being.
In the quest for personal transformation, adherence emerges as the most crucial factor. It provides the discipline, consistency, and resilience needed to overcome challenges, deepen knowledge, foster accountability, and sustain long-term results.
By embracing adherence as a guiding principle, we unlock the potential to transform every aspect of our lives, from our habits and relationships to our careers and personal growth.
Remember, the power to transform resides within you, and adherence is the key that unlocks that power. Embrace it, commit to it, and witness the incredible changes that unfold as a result.
How can you practice adherence?
Achieving transformation through adherence to chosen habits requires dedication, commitment, and strategic planning. Here are some practical steps to help a person adhere to their chosen habits and achieve their desired transformation:
Set Clear and Specific Goals:
Clearly define the transformation you seek to achieve. Whether it's improving physical fitness, adopting a healthier diet, or enhancing productivity, set specific goals that are measurable and attainable. This clarity will provide direction and motivation throughout the process.
Start Small and Build Momentum:
Begin by focusing on one or two habits at a time. Trying to change too much at once can be overwhelming and lead to burnout. Start with manageable habits that align with your goals and build consistency in those areas before taking on additional changes. Small successes create momentum and reinforce your belief in your ability to achieve transformation.
Create a Routine:
Establishing a daily routine helps embed new habits into your lifestyle. Identify specific times of the day when you can dedicate uninterrupted focus to your chosen habits. Consistency is key, so strive to perform these habits at the same time and place every day. Eventually, they become automatic, making adherence easier.
Utilize Reminders and Triggers:
Set up reminders to prompt you to engage in your chosen habits. Use technology, such as phone alarms or habit-tracking apps, to keep you on track. Additionally, create environmental triggers that act as cues for your habits. For example, placing your workout clothes near your bed can remind you to exercise first thing in the morning.
Track Progress and Celebrate Milestones:
Keep track of your progress to stay motivated and hold yourself accountable. Use a journal, habit-tracking app, or calendar to record your daily adherence. Celebrate milestones along the way to acknowledge your achievements and reinforce your commitment to transformation. Rewarding yourself for consistent adherence can be a powerful motivator.
Find Accountability Partners:
Share your transformation journey with trusted friends, family members, or colleagues who can act as accountability partners. Regularly update them on your progress and lean on them for support and encouragement. Having someone to share your successes and challenges with can make the adherence process more enjoyable and sustainable.
Adapt and Learn from Setbacks:
Transformation is rarely a linear process, and setbacks are inevitable. Instead of viewing setbacks as failures, see them as opportunities to learn and adjust your approach. Reflect on what led to the setback, identify potential triggers or obstacles, and create strategies to overcome them. Adherence requires resilience and the ability to bounce back from setbacks with renewed determination.
Practice Self-Care and Prioritize Well-being:
To maintain adherence to chosen habits, it's essential to prioritize self-care and overall well-being. Take care of your physical and mental health through adequate sleep, balanced nutrition, stress management techniques, and regular breaks. When you prioritize your well-being, you enhance your ability to adhere to habits and sustain transformation.
Stay Motivated and Inspired:
Continuously seek motivation and inspiration to stay committed to your chosen habits. Engage in activities that reinforce your goals, such as reading books, listening to podcasts, or joining communities with like-minded individuals. Surround yourself with positive influences that fuel your passion for transformation.
Review and Adjust as Needed:
Regularly review your adherence strategies and evaluate your progress. Assess what is working well and what needs adjustment. Be open to refining your approach based on your experiences and changing circumstances. Transformation is an ongoing process, and adapting your strategies ensures continued growth and success.
Remember, adherence to chosen habits is a personal journey that requires patience, self-compassion, and a growth mindset.
Stay mastery-focused. Let go of what you think you know and become an apprentice of the change you desire. Break down the success principles and integrate them into your lifestyle.
By implementing these steps and staying committed, you can successfully adhere to your habits and achieve the transformative changes you desire.
Best wishes, Luke Bunder