I recently rescued a dog from the Humane Society. Peanut might have appeared more like a loofa than a dog, but he was just pathetic looking enough that I had to have him. The heart wants what the heart wants.

Three days after bringing Peanut home, I gushed to a veterinarian friend about how easy life with him was and how all he seemed to do was sleep with me and gaze at me adoringly. “Six days, six weeks, six months,” she said. “Call me after you’ve had him for half-a-year.”

So how do you get over the hump? Plan to fail.  Tweet This Quote

Six weeks later—while cleaning up vomit after Peanut had eaten a bag of chocolate kisses, foil and
all—I not only saw the truth of the six-day, six week-, six-month rule but realized that it applies to other life changes. Whether you’re adopting an exercise program or or trying to eat better or, yes, launching a company, the first few days are an exhilarating rush. Then, about six weeks in, the excitement that has sustained your new behaviors starts to wane before the habits have really set in. And before long you’re fighting your dog for a bag of chocolate.

There’s no avoiding this, but being aware of it will help you get through those initial hurdles. There’s actually good research on this. Fifty percent of people who start an exercise program will drop out by six weeks. Yet six weeks is just about the time we start seeing positive results of new behaviors. Stick with it, and those behaviors will become part of who you are.

So how do you get over the hump? Plan to fail. My path to better health has been a series of short-term failures, tweaks, then long-term successes. I don’t approach any new behavior as an all-or-nothing proposition. Rarely do things turn out exactly as planned, and if you get bogged down in a quest for perfection, you’ll see only a string of failures rather than a series of real—if imperfect—improvements.

Peanut still sleeps by my side, but he also barks like a fire alarm every time a leaf blows across the lawn, and he eats more socks than dog food. Were I to measure our time together in noise and vomit, I’d be pretty frustrated. But when I look at where I am now compared to where I was six months ago, my life is absolutely better.

The heart wants what the heart wants. It just takes about six months to figure it out.

About the author

Ann Garvin

Ann Garvin

Ann is an author, speaker and educator. As professor of health, stress management, research methods and media literacy at University of Wisconsin Whitewater, she has worked extensively in psychometrics, statistics and psychology. Ann is the author of On Maggie’s Watch & The Dog Year (Berkley Penguin, 2014).

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  • A business partner of mine had started 31 businesses before his current business finally took off. I asked him why he abandoned the first 31 businesses and kept going in a new field. His response was that he still wanted to work for himself, but enjoy running his business. He would come up with an idea, begin the business, run into troubles either running the business or selling his products, and when it got too deep he packed it up and started the process again. He said those first 31 businesses were more like 31 college classes on how not to run a business. As I was starting my own business, I sat down with him and he went through each previous business he ran and why it failed. Through his failures I have been able to avoid those issues myself and focus on the challenges ahead of me armed with that knowledge.

  • Ann, I totally understand the six day, six week, six month thought when starting something new and sticking to it when it comes diet and exercise. I find that when starting a new exercise or eating healthier alone is easier to stop doing the healthy act than if you had a partner doing it with you. But keeping in mind that it takes six weeks to start feeling/showing improvements with the lifestyle changes will help that six day feeling last longer. A question that I have is what are some ways that I could keep that six day feeling last longer?

  • I really like this article because it’s a shot of reality. Anytime you start something new there will be the honeymoon phase so to speak, whether that is getting a new pet, starting a new job or starting a new exercise plan. I believe it all comes down to mindset going into it. You are right, if you think everything will be perfect then you are setting yourself up for failure. I feel it is a fine line of being realistic, but yet keeping a positive mental outlook. Do you think most people have the same troubles/issues when starting something new?

  • I have tried many diets and many different workout routines and have failed at most of them. Maybe I didn’t give them enough time to sink in. I think in the world of immediate results we live in its hard to put a lot of effort towards something that is going to take a while to pay off, but when it does, oh man, does it feel good. Nothing happens like its supposed to however there are ingredients to help for potential success. I agree with the fact that it takes about six weeks to make it a habit and after that commitment has been met and a routine has set in the chance for long lasting results increases. My question is how can I keep the motor going after 6 weeks that last a lifetime?

  • Six weeks seems like a long time to turn an exercise activity or new eating plan into a habit, especially in a world where most people seek instant gratification. After a year of very little exercise, if a fifty year old person starts a new running program by trying to run three miles on the first day, he or she is set up for serious failure or injury. But this does not usually stop a person from trying this. After all, it is kind of difficult to feel the positive effects of a runner’s high on the first day out if one runs only three blocks instead of three miles. This person may have failed with his or her new running program. One who experiences this kind of failure can still hang on to the six week plan by riding a bike several miles, which will require the use of several muscles groups different from those used while running. The key here is to be open to other forms of exercise that a person may not have been willing to consider when he or she was twenty.

  • I definitely know the feeling of failure. It can be very discouraging and result in a negative attitude towards whatever it is I fail to do. But i have been working on trying to see those failures as a form of motivation to not fail, and to become content with my humanity. Being human means you are not perfect therefore failure is inevitable, but success is what makes those failures worth while. You must make mistakes in order to find the right path to being successful and to feel as though you have been effective in making a difference in your own life.

  • Failure is always on the mind of every individual on beginning something new. Wether it is exercise, dietary changes, playing a sport, etc. it will always be on the mind. Failure and negativity are sometimes on the mind because they do not want to give 100%. When you commit to something, you need to go full out and devote all time and effort into the change. I recently went through this change when I was eating unhealthy and not exercising correctly or the right amount. When I made this change I always told my dad I wouldn’t be good or successful because I started so late. Well turns out after devoting 2 years, time, energy, and money I have made tremendous changes in my life. The feeling of failure has gone and nothing now holds me back.

  • I like the six day, six week and six month rule. Especially when it comes to forming a new habit, like a healthy lifestyle change. It might be difficult but if you stick with after the first six weeks and make it to six months it will become part of your routine. After one habit is changed you can move on to another, and before you know it you will be leading a completely different, and healthy, lifestyle.

  • I had participated in the six day, six week and six month rule this past semester without even realizing it. The first week of class I showed up eager to learn and actually thought the topic was interesting. Close to six weeks later we had our first exam and after a week of studying I ended up with a D-. At which point I debated on dropping the class considering our entire grade was based off four exams and just retaking the class next semester. But I followed the rule, stuck with the class and my scores only went up from there leaving me with a B in class. Sometimes in life you really do have to fight past failure to get to the success you seek.

  • I think my own participation within this 6 days, 6 weeks, 6 months rule was most apparant when I started going back to school this past fall. Having taken a year off to work, and figure out what I wanted to do with my life, finally deciding to go back to school the first few days were amazing. By six weeks in the “rush” had worn off and I’m sure my girlfriend can attest my continual complaints about school. By six months this 1st semester was over and while feeling overwhelmed at times, there was a sense of accomplishment, knowing I was heading in the right direction for life. Rather than 6x6x6 growing up I always saw this challenge as “you have to slay a few dragons to get to the princess,” or that unfortunately in life you have to deal with challenges in order to become successful.

  • Almost every semester i deal with the 6x6x6 usually i start out the first 6 days as hard as i can doing everything right and loving it at school. usually by the 6 week point the exams have started and my love and passion for school had started to take its dive then i would have to make a decent recovery to make sure that when i reached the 6 month point my grades were in and looking good and started to prepare for the next semester trying to make some changes to not go through it again knowing that you can overcome it when you put in the time and effort and take care of yourself

  • I have seen and experienced this six day, six week, six month theory myself in different ways from school to getting on a workout plan. It is crazy how accurate that this rule or theory is. I have experienced this myself during the 16 week semesters while at school. Also I have seen this theory in some of my friends when they attempt to start a workout program. They never stick it out for very long because they do not see results right away and the program has not became a habit to them. I realized that once you stick with something and make it through the hard times you will be glad you will be much better off.

  • That makes a lot of sense. I started working out and then I stopped. When I do plan to workout again, I will plan better and make sure I can conveniently fit it in my schedule. I have heard that a person should eat every three hours and I thought that was no big deal-easy. But it really isn’t. You have to fix lunches and snacks when going out because before you know it you would have eaten a good breakfast and find that you eat again only at night.

  • We say all of these things that we are going to accomplish, and then a few weeks later, we change our mind. We have to start embracing the struggle involved with each topic. For example, a lot of people start working out and love it for a few weeks, then the ambition to work out starts to fade away until they stop going. Everything takes hard work to accomplish, but once you reach that six months, it becomes a nice routine. I completely agree with that. The six months is a huge hump. How does someone avoid quitting or losing interest before the hump?

  • I believe that most people do this because they don’t want to have to stick with a long term new behavior because they don’t want to give up everything that they previous did (or had). For the exercise example, people give up after six weeks because that excitement is no longer there and the motivation has died down, even though those benefits are being seen (a better looking and functioning body). But what people don’t have down yet, is that these behaviors that they dread giving up wouldn’t even be a problem anymore after those six weeks because the body is automatically helping you with the new behavior, making it easier to sustain it in the long run.

  • I have definitely experienced this six day, six week, six month theory. I wanted to keep fast food out of my diet plan. After about four weeks there I was at the McDonalds. After that I felt so sick that I didn’t want to have it again. One thing that I don’t understand is that when people workout and start seeing improvement they think it is good enough to stop. I do like the perspective of not having an all or nothing attitude.

  • Never have I heard of this theory before, but I’m definitely interested in trying this with my habit that I’m going to try to change over a year (our class assignment). This is a nice way to break down into chunks the different stages of adjustment we go through when we make a significant change.

  • It is a little depressing to think that any change I want to make in my life will take 6 weeks to catch on. But it is enlightening at the same time to know that if I stick with something for six weeks it will begin to become a part of your lifestyle. It’s like I now have a goal rather than shooting in the dark hoping to hit something eventually.

  • I have experienced this many times in my own life. I will start a new habit such as trying to improve my sleep habits, but I do not stick with them long enough for them to become a habit. As soon as I slip up one day, it becomes easy to slip up the next day. I think this happens a lot. People start a habit and it starts off well, but one slip up or bad day and they go right into the old pattern they were trying to fix.

  • I wish more people would have this kind of mindset going into different things in their life. “Fad diets” and the majority of weight loss programs that are on TV try to make losing weight the easiest thing you’ve ever done. So many people in our generation expect things to be handed to them without any work involved. Our greatest accomplishments come through making sacrifices, and once we achieve them, it’s the one of the best feelings we’ll ever have.

  • I feel like I read this article at the perfect time, because I am currently attempting to get into better shape and exercise more often. I thought that getting back to school would help me develop a better and more consistent routine, but I have found it to actually be harder. I have a lot more to do while I’m back at school, so working out seemed to be the last of my worries. I hate giving up on things, so I don’t want to do that, I just need to find a way to balance out everything that’s going on, while continuing a workout routine. I know that once I get back on track and into it, I will be proud of the ending results, it will just take some time to see them.

  • This was perfect for me and my life. At 6 months is when I feel an abundance of changes happening in my life, unfortunately for me those changes usually happen at staggered times. I am very much an impulse person, not like most people when it comes to shopping, and buying expensive things that will financial strain me. I am more of the impulse decision maker when it comes to exercise and fitness. When an idea sounds good and seems like something I can do I do it, whether it’s challenging or not it seems to me that I go off what sounds good at the time but don’t always look at the impact it will have in the long run. This is a great mind set to have the next time I decide to change up things instead of sticking it out.

  • I have viewed a couple comments below and I could not agree more that I read this article at the perfect time. Right now I am in the transition with changing my lifestyle and leaving the negatives behind that were holding me back. I have started a couple new things, and now after reading this article I will look more positively at the things I am starting new knowing that it may take 6 months in order to see the results you want. Not just 6 days. I love how you say in your article, how do you get over the hump, “plan to fail” I think this is great advice given for any aspect in life, if you plan to fail anything you do above that is a success.

  • I used to have a regular exercise schedule and I was quite proud of how long I kept up the routine. As you said, the six day, six week, six month rule is quite difficult sometimes when you’ve had a long day at work/school and the couch is calling. My problem is vacations. I usually plan on doing some sort of exercise while on vacation and even pack my shoe and clothes for a good run. That intent usually doesn’t happen and it wouldn’t be as bad if I was able to get back into the routine when I get back home. Routine gone, starting from scratch. Any suggestions?

  • Exactly how do you plan to fail? I have been not dieting, but I have been trying to stay away from fast food as carbs. I have been doing this now for about 6 months, but my biggest problem is that I’m sick of being “good” if that makes sense. It seems that about every month their comes a time when I just don’t care anymore. I am sick of work, life, and healthy habits. It’s not even related to my monthly cycle… However, my question is how can I expect to fail but then try in the first place?

  • I am glad that I found this article. I liked the part that said “if you get bogged down in a quest for perfection, you’ll see only a string of failures rather than a series of real—if imperfect—improvements.” I joined the Whitewater soccer team and it has not gone exactly as I expected it to go. When I read this article it showed me that I should be focusing on how much my soccer skills have improved in the last couple weeks, instead of the areas that I still need improve on. I know that if am committed and stick with it my “failures” will turn into some pretty neat experiences and success stories.

  • I am so happy I found this article. I’ve struggled with the exercising everyday, then not exercising for 2 months, then once again starting back up again. Sometimes I feel as though I do it for the wrong reasons. To look better, to like what I see in the mirror more, when in reality, the ultimate goal should be health. When I start to work out, I expect an all-or-nothing approach. I want it to become a habit almost immediately where it feels weird to not work out. But, as stated in this article, I need to push through and make small goals for myself and see how it feels in six months. I really do care about my fitness and health, but making it a priority has been a challenge. Are there any suggestions on how to make exercise a long term and life long thing? Do shorter term mini goals help until you start to reach longer ones? Exercising and sticking with it is one of my main goals in my young adult life, but I’m not sure exactly how to go about accomplishing that.

  • Reading this made me chuckle and then made me realize that it is so true. A lot of people today look for the easy way out and try these crash diets or pills to loose weight in very short amounts of time. I can only imagine that they don’t go as planned. To me loosening weight starts with becoming a healthier person. Exercise and eat right and your off to a good start. If you are going to start a workout routine or change your eating habits you have to give your body time to adjust to it and get in the groove of things. I started a diet this summer and saw amazing results within three weeks and if I would have stuck with it for longer I probably wouldn’t be here trying to come up with a new plan of action. Good things come to those who wait… and work hard.

  • As an over emotional college sophomore, I related this article back to relationships throughout my life. High school and college are stressful enough, so why we all jump the gun on adding relationships in there is completely beyond me. However, I am no less guilty than the next girl whom just wants to have as much of her ‘happily ever after’ as she can cling onto for dear life. I found this so easy to relate to because of the six days, six weeks, six months theory. Relationships always always ALWAYS start off the same way, over the moon and head over heels and all of the honeymoon gushy crap; i.e. six days. Then over a little time, you start to notice things that kind of annoy you about the person you’re seeing, but are too sweet to say; i.e. six weeks. After even longer times have passed you see things that you actually, for lack of a better word, hate about the ‘love of your life;’ i.e. six months. Relating back to a term from my Stress Management lecture, we live in a ‘fight or flight’ type of society these days. So the second your ‘reason for existence’ starts to show you whom he/she truly is, quirks and all, you want out. Such a wonderful generation of kind and reasonable hearts, isn’t it?

  • I’ve heard the 6-6-6 idea used before. My parents use it to check in on me at the start of each school year, as a matter of fact. I think it is an awesome idea because like you said, up to 6 days, things are still new and exciting. No matter what it is that you start, there are still things to learn and adaptations to be made. after around 6 weeks, habits have set in and things begin to get boring. this is the time that you either see improvement or throw in the towel. 6 months is when you really start to see big change and if you get to the 6 month marker, there’s a good chance you’re in it for the long haul. Thanks for the post, Ann.

  • Sometimes you just have to (wo)man up and do it, Carly. Self reliance and self control are two huge factors in bringing yourself to stick to a new found fad, especially working out. You must have the control to tell yourself that instead of taking a nap, you’re going to go work out. Or you had a rough night the night before and you’re not feeling very well, but you know that you still have to work out because it is part of the promise that you made to yourself. You need to be able to turn down some things that may feel better or be easier in order to work and ultimately achieve a goal that you have previously set for yourself. Good luck in the future and meet those goals! (an aside tip, find a dedicated workout buddy that won’t let you skip.)

  • I couldn’t agree more with the 6-6-6 theory, and my experience with working at a fitness center has solidified my opinion. In January, especially, an abnormally large amount of people would sign up for a membership, and the gym would be packed with people who swore on their mother’s graves that they would get into shape for their new year’s resolutions. As days and weeks passed, the crowd would slowly thin out because of the amount of people who decided it was too difficult and not worth their time and effort to lose weight. Only a few would force themselves over that six week hump, and those are the few who became regulars. Those people were the ones who saw the greatest improvements, both physically and mentally, and therefore felt the most accomplished and confident.

  • I think this article is perfect for the transition of starting a new school year. I often find myself struggling for the first couple weeks to get into a good routine of things. Especially for exercising laying out the schedule on paper is totally different than in person sometimes. I often forget how exhausting school can be with late night studying or group projects. I definitely need to reassure myself that failure is not always bad, and sometimes we must plan for it.

  • This article relates to my life now more than ever. I struggle on a daily basis with physical activity. Prior to college I was an avid exerciser, but my lifestyle since attending UWW has changed, and I am struggling to get back on track. I am guilty of the all or nothing proposition. I want to see results immediately and when I don’t, I become discouraged. I will execute and exercise plan for about two weeks, but then I become unhappy with the lack of progress or busy with school and work and I find myself neglecting the gym. I have to make time. None of those are excuses for not properly taking care of my body. This article has reminded me that I have the stamina to push threw, I did it once and I will do it again.

  • I really find this article very interesting. I never though about the 6-6-6 terminology like this before. I have to say I suffered from this rule myself recently. I started working out last December and I lost 30 pounds within 3 months with a strict diet and workout schedule. I must say when I got content on how I looked I started to slack on everything I was doing to get me to this point. Reading this article makes me realize that I can not become content with things the way they are or I can always go back to the way I was. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I had one question though when and where were the people surveyed that fell in the 50% margin. I just wanted to know if the statistics have somewhat changed since the last time they were surveyed.

  • Thank you for introducing me to the 6-6-6 analogy. Your article was the first time I had heard that said. However, I don’t find it kind of confusing. Are you saying 6 days is bliss, 6 weeks is a reality check, and 6 months brings understanding? The title of this blog was very intriguing to me, because it comes across as sort of a depressing message, “Work Like a Dog — Plan to Fail.” My first reaction was, “Well, then why work at all?” However, your message is quite the opposite, encouraging others to preserver. I personally find myself caught in the trap of perfectionism quite often. I grew up as the youngest of four with three older brothers, and I think subconsciously I was always trying to prove myself. I felt like success was measured by my ability to exceed my brother’s accomplishments. What this lead to was major burnout. I think I went one more 6 beyond the article though – 6 years. My perfectionist self used to get irritated by Einstein’s famous quotation, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” It was my goal to prove that statement wrong. However, now looking back I realize that it has been my mistakes as well as my accomplishments, that have brought me to where I am today. I believe that they play an equal role in the development and direction of a individual’s life. As you say, we should embrace failure and admit its reality!

  • I think that Americans get too caught up in the fact that they can achieve anything they want to. This is false. Things like dieting or quitting smoking are difficult tasks. The 6 day mark and the 6 month mark are completely different milestones. Generally, the support and motivation is drastically different at these two points in the process. Having a solid support group will help Americans actually succeed with their goals because it is not easy to do it without. We need to plan to fail, and bring our loved ones along from the journey in order to achieve our tough goals because it will not happen by itself.

  • I agree that anything we do or undertake in life will undoubtedly have its cycle of excitement and displeasure. It reminds me of a quote that a “Calvin and Hobbes” character once said: “Sometimes the anticipation of something is more fun than the actual thing once you have it.”

    I can certainly say that I’m guilty of this like anyone else. I find this is especially true when talking about Christmas gifts. I can remember some of the old fads that were big during my young boy days…and now after all this time I could never bring myself to either play that old video game I used to want or that old toyI ccouldn’t wait to have.

  • Failure is a part of success. It is what you do with your failures that will determine whether or not you will succeed. Failures can be used as learning experences and as a way to implement improvement.

  • I agree with this whole article in that people (including myself) tend to get used to something after the hype and excitement has warred down. About 8 years ago on Christmas day I brought home my dog. I was so excited! She was so small and calm and she loved snuggling into you as she slept. I would take her for walks, play with her & agreed with my parents I would pick up her poop and feed her every day. Well after about a half a year- what happens to most people- I got sick of picking up her poop and playing with her every day. I love my dog and still continue to do all these things for her, but it got exhausting and I just wanted to quit and have my parents do it all. The habit of doing all these things became old quickly. She got big so her cuddling wasn’t as nice and her eating habits changed, she wouldn’t drop the ball when I told her to, etc… of course I would not take any of it back- I love my dog to death. But I can relate to having that feeling of quitting after so long. Like you mentioned you just have to keep it up until it becomes a part of you and a part of your everyday routine. Just like my dog, she is a part of our family and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • I totally agree with this article! I know I have tried to eat right and come up with plans to work out more and be more health. It is very hard to stick on the right path. Like you said, the heart wants what the heart wants and it loves everything not good for you to lose weight! I know the saying is after a month it becomes a habit but with all the temptations out now a days it’s very hard to stay focus. With the right plan and remembering the goal I’m working towards I’m sure I could reach my six day, six week and six month marks easier. I’m glad Peanut as become a big part of your life and that you rescued him! I’m sure he is in a great home.

  • I don’t know how many new exercise programs I have started or how many times I have said to myself, “I am going to work out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday”. I work hard at it during the most part of the summer then football season starts in August ( I coach youth football), my schedule gets a little hectic, and plan goes out the window. I find myself working out sparingly after that. My plan to put on 5 lbs, yes I said put on weight, becomes impossible because there is no consistency. When we feel our life is too hectic, we often deprive our body of what I feel it needs most, exercise. These are the times when we should probably be exercising the most. Helping to relive us of the stress and anxiety of a busy American lifestyle. We need to take 30 minutes out of our busy day to work the stress out of our body. Our body works so hard and bottles up so much stress, let your body release some of that stress. Everyone has 30 minutes, even though you don’t think you do.

  • This article can be implied to so many different aspects of life! School, relationships, jobs, dating, and even sports. Thank you Ann. I can relate to this article more than any other article on unreasonable. I have one question though. Lets say you find a new thing to do and after the six week mark you want to give up. How do you know if you should give up or keep going?

  • Thanks for writing this blog! I think what you mentioned was great because it can be applied to so many different areas in somebody’s life! I’ve noticed this in my own life and also in the lives of others. Taking the gym I go to as an example, in January it’s PACKED. Everybody has a New Years resolution to eat better and workout more. In the beginning they are fully committed, but by the time March rolls around, it’s noticeably quieter. Even when people are seeing results, after a couple months the excitement ends and I notice them start to get tired of driving to the gym after work when all they really want to do is relax at home. What would your best advice be to others as well as myself, to help stay committed after the first couple months?

  • Thank you for the blog
    Ann! This blog is very useful in life because with just about everything new,
    we all start out excited but eventually the excitement dies down. When the
    excitement dies down it will test a person’s character and commitment to
    whatever their original goal is. I also agree that many times if you stick with
    something for six months, by that six month deadline you can feel much better
    about your original goal because it’s a part of your daily routine now.

  • Thank you for your insightful blog Professor Garvin!
    I feel that this blog could be very useful to a lot of people who struggle to stay with something new that they’re trying out. I liked your example about adopting a new fitness program because it relates to me personally. Last year, I signed up for a gym membership in the hopes that I would be motivated to start a fitness program. However, after 3 weeks of continually going to the gym, I began to lose motivation to go, and hit the “hump” that you mentioned in your post. My question to those who decide to try something new, is whether or not they are okay with the notion that not everyone is “perfect” and that it is okay to fail from time to time. So many people are bent on the idea of never failing or experiencing difficulty when trying something new, so I challenge those who hit the “hump” not to give up or consider yourself a failure.

  • Thank you for some great tips professor! I agree with the last few posts in that it is very exciting to start something new right away, but then soon to realize that it can be more of a challenge than expected. We all face situations like this in more ways than just exercising and getting a new puppy, but it is clearly relevant to most people. Not only is this tip of planning to fail a good way to keep the self motivated and ready for adversity, but it can help develop healthy habits and discipline one’s self to accept a new challenge and change. I guess the one thing I don’t understand would be why exactly at half a year do these challenges seem to peak? Why not earlier, why not later? I’m sure it is different for everyone but for most people why half a year? A question for the professor, what types of things do you do to help keep yourself motivated when facing adversity or other types of struggles? Does it help you grow as a person, and if so, how?

  • This blog is really relevant for me right now. I have tried and tried and tried over the past year or so to get on the right track to healthy eating and exercise. I have read countless articles. I have tried countless diets, and NOTHING has worked! I have finally realized why though…I haven’t stuck with it long enough. Usually after the two week mark I give up because I don’t see any changes, but this time is different for me. I have been going for almost a month now. I have made a few mistakes here and there, but that is how you learn. After reading this blog, it made me realize how important it is to stick to something. You may not see results right away. You just have to stick with it and it will soon become a habit for you. I would love to speak with Ann about this. Like stated above I have struggled in the past to stick with a lifestyle choice, and I have constantly failed. I would love to ask her some advice as to how to stick with a routine, and what I can change about it.

    Thank you,
    Abbey Stibbs

  • Thank you for the blog! The part I related most too was giving up after six weeks. I do that with a lot of things in my life. I am a person where I want to see results quickly. About a year ago I gained a good amount of weight so I decided it was time to go back to the gym to exercise to lose the weight. Unfortunately it was going to take more then a couple weeks to get the weight off. That fact became frustrating because I am a perfectionist. My question is this you say “stick with those behaviors and it will become apart of you” but what if they never started how can I adapt to those behaviors to become successful in the end?

  • Thanks for this great insight! As I was reading this, the only thing I could think about was new year’s resolutions. The majority of people make one and they rarely last in my experience. Working at a fitness facility, it amazes me how many memberships we sell at the start of January! The weight room is packed day and night. After 6 weeks, it dies down. The people who stick with it see enormous changes after the full year and they are visibly happier. How did your friend come up with the specific timeline for the rule? It seems like even after 3 or 4 weeks some people seem to struggle. I guess it’s all based on the individual, but 6 days, 6 weeks, and 6 months seems to be accurate still. More people should be aware that they will fail at one point or another. They will fall behind or want to quit and start back up whatever behavior change they are focusing on. Failing is just a part of life and it helps us to become even better if we embrace it instead of let it define us.

  • I like this rule of 6’s. If you can last 6 days, then you keep going and adapting for 6 weeks, and by the time you have lasted for 6 months you have a habit. Hopefully this is a healthy habit, that you can continue for the rest of your life.

  • Thank you for posting this article Professor Garvin. As first when I was reading this article, I wanted to question how you approached the plan to fail theory. However, as I continued reading, I completely agree. I can say that I’ve been guilty, more than once, on trying to eat healthier and then giving up and going back to my comfort foods. I’d say it takes me 5 weeks before I give up though. I see results quickly, but then I need patience. This article reignited my fire on staying on track and eating healthier. I’ve done it before and I’ve had remarkable changes, I just need to maintain it now. Thank you Ann Garvin! One question I have for you is how long did it take you to form your habit? Have you ever given up on your plans before?

  • Thank you for posting this. There was a deeper meaning to the article and I really appreciate it. I must agree with what you wrote, everything seems lavishing in the first few weeks. I tried a juicing diet with my friend just to see how I liked it, it seems great at first, but after awhile I got tired of juicing and stopped. My friend kept doing it, and to this day she still decides to juice for some of her meals. Had I stuck with it, I probably would be in the same boat. I think the hard part about it is just sticking with it and not giving up when it seems to get boring or tiring.This reminds me of new years resolutions and how people will say they are going to change something and the first few weeks they change but then after that it stops. I am guilty of this as many people are. Truth of the matter is we either forget, or stop caring. But I think after reading this article, I want to try it again and actualy stick with it! Its kind of like the bad habbit thing, when you keep trying to avoid that habbit it is hard at first but eventually it all works out and you get it! Thank you for bringing this to my attention. What advice would you tell someone who really wants to give up besides to just stick with it?

  • Thanks for the post!

    I liked your used of an allegory to explain this health behavior. I went through this in my own life but pertaining to health not dogs. My health wasn’t the best and I made a decision to change that. I now consider myself a healthy person after i realized my unhealthy childhood. I had to stick with my plan just like you are sticking with Peanut.

  • I am so happy that I read this post because the main idea in it can be applied to so many things in life. Sometimes when things are not going well for me like a class for example I just look at the here and now and think about the fact that I may be struggling or that I may hate the class. This article reminds me that tough times do not last forever and that I have to look to the future to where things are not going to be quite as tough and use that to push myself to get through the current times.

  • Thank you for the blog Ann! After thinking about my own personal fitness accomplishments I realized that at about 6 weeks is when I am bored of it or “over it.” It makes a lot of sense, yet is annoying that we do that to ourselves. How do we get passed this? I enjoyed this blog and I am sure many others can relate to it well!

  • Thanks for your post Ann! This article sent a clear message to me that it often takes willpower to continue with something once you’ve gotten over the “hump”. This is either the point where we shine or we fail and knowing what it takes to commit and reach your goals is what defines us as humans which I feel is a message that can be useful to anyone!

  • I found this one very useful. Most the time when people start dieting and exercising there excited for a new start and ready to go. Then weeks go by and that excitement dies down and some quit and some keep going. Like you said above it takes about that 6 weeks mark to notice a difference in your body. If you can keep going and make it part of your everyday routine you will stick with it and things will change. One thing I dont know is if those are the correct words to go by.” So how do you get over the hump? Plan to fail.” If you dont have the mind set to change you wont. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • I found this article useful. There are many people who have new year resolutions and never fulfill those resolutions. The most common resolutions are i plan to eat healthier and i plan to exercise more. As you point out in the article, many people stop something tough like a new diet plan or work out plan when all they have to do is push through it a little longer. I think you should always set small reachable victories for yourself to make yourself feel like you can work your way up to bigger obstacles because having small goals in the end add up over time.

  • My dad used to say the difference between a good job and a bad job can be six months. I have applied this idea in a few more ways than just work. Obviously it must be an extension of this phrase. I need to apply this more in my life, as in the six week timeframe, when excitement wanes, and keep going. Thank you for the story of you and Peanut and the valuable lesson of learning while doing and sustaining your new behaviors.

  • Such an easy way to keep people motivated! Great blog! It is so true that it takes time to form a habit, whatever that habit might be. I have failed many times at going for a new goal because I wanted it to be perfect. I didn’t realize that though it took me awhile to get where I was, I was better than who I was before. That is the important part to remember. I love how you relate this back to Peanut! It is proof that even this way of thinking can be used for everyday examples, like a pet.

  • Good point on how this relates to all aspects of life, especially the dating aspect. It is crazy how many couples you see getting engaged or moving in with their significant other after a short period of time. Just because something works for 6 days or even 6 weeks, doesn’t mean that it will work at 6 months. Good question for Ann. I am curious to her response as well!

  • Thanks for the post Ann! I guess it’s true what they say learn from your mistakes. No ones perfect, everybody fails at some point in their life. But it’s how they react to that failure that makes them the person they are today. The six week thing seems like an odd amount to me, because it’s over a month but inder two. It’s not like an “I tried i for a month” type deal, but if research says six weeks or six months then six it is. I like this idea of six days, six weeks, six months I think I might try it for healthy eating. I’m trying to eat a lot more fruits and veggies and no more yogurt with 26g of sugar (Yoplait) or frozen dinners (Lean Cuisine). So we’ll see how it turns out.

  • Thank you for sharing this information. It is very true. This summer I started dating someone and recently we had the discussion of him being worried about us getting bored of one another and not having anything to talk about. I had to tell him that we just had to adapt and be thankful for each others presence. There may be a lack of excitement and no more “honeymoon stage.” I explained to him that we just have to try to keep things exciting and tell each other specifics about our days instead of just telling the other same old same old. Just being aware is the best thing we can do. I also said that I’ve know you for 6 years and you know I never shut up, there will never be a dull moment. The situation would only be what we make of it and the heart wants what the heart wants. This is off topic from what I was talking about before, but do you have any other suggestions for people who start working out and stop after six months?

  • Thank you! This is a great article because everyone gets in that mood in the first 6 days. At six weeks we start to slip of the plan. If people could just stick with things for six months then it is more likely to work out. How do you get people to actually at ik with something for 6 months?

  • As a fellow dog owner, this is a very touching story for me! My relationship with health use to be like peanut’s and the bag of chocolate before I started to make settle changes about my health which helped me keep building on top of my success to where I kept it sustained as a mindset. Life is all about doing the little things right and as I continue to keep improving the sky is the limit, thanks to settle changes.

  • Thank you for this interesting article! I agree that sticking with something makes it easier to implement whatever this thing is into your daily life. It reminds me off when people go on a diet or get in a workout routine and it becomes almost second nature to them. Do you believe six months is the necessary length to stick with something?

  • This blog is very relate able for me because this seems to be what happens after I start dieting and exercising every time. The first few days, maybe even week go well but after that I usually end up letting life get in the way. I think you made an important comment in the article, “you’ll see only a string of failures rather than a series of real—if imperfect—improvements”. This is something that stood out to me because with almost everything in my life I expect to be a perfectionist at it. I think it is important to also have failures, learn from them, and try harder next time.

  • Thank you for your article! I believe that this article is very relatable to life. I have seen the “six day-,six week-,six month” struggle. I love how you related this not only to dogs but also with exercise. I know my mom has struggled with getting into programs because she felt they were not helping her. It is hard to convince people to do something when they feel it is a lost hope for them. I workout more now because I stayed with my program and I am glad it is part of my routine.

  • For one, I can relate to the part about the initial excitement of having a dog and then how it becomes a big responsibility. I adopted a dog and am the sole owner of her and it’s a lot of work! But I wouldn’t change it for anything. It’s a great point that things always start off very exciting but when the excitement wears off, we start to slow down a little bit. We need to be aware that the excitement and initial ambition is going to start wearing off after some amount of time- it’s just human nature. But when we’re aware of this and prepared for it to happen, we can identify it when it starts happening remind ourselves that we knew this was going to happen, and now it’s time to get past it.

  • I definitely know the feeling of failure. Failure is always on the mind of every individual on beginning something new. Whether it’s exercise, dietary changes, playing a sport, etc. it will always be on the mind. Failure and negativity are sometimes on the mind because they do not want to give 100%. When you commit to something, you need to go full out and devote all time and effort into the change. I recently went through this change when I was eating unhealthy and not exercising correctly or the right amount. When I made this change I always told my dad I wouldn’t be good or successful because I started so late. Well turns out after devoting 2 years, time, energy, and money I have made tremendous changes in my life. The feeling of failure has gone and nothing now holds me back.

  • I LOVE this! In hindsight, I often experience the same pattern of feelings. The start of something new is exciting. For example, upon starting grad school, I was extremely excited and loved everything from having homework again to sitting through lectures. However, a few weeks into it when the workload was increasing at a rate faster than I could keep up with, I began to question why I started school again. I was perfectly happy at my job…I got to be close to the people I cared about…etc. However, a few weeks after that initial hump (and conveniently also past midterms) I am once again happy with my decision. I realize that my feelings will fluctuate with the process, but at the end of the journey, I will continue to be happy.

  • Thank you for the very useful and insightful blog. Nothing is more true than this blog. This pattern has happen to me to many times to count, mostly with exercising. I always say I am going to work out everyday and I am not going to miss. It is easier said then done. Yes at first I am all excited and pumped to get my new life goal started and to see results but after the first couple weeks go by it is harder to have this excitement. I think this is because we know what we have to go do, we know what we are about to go do isn’t going to be fun. I have started working out many different times for it only to last about 4-5 weeks and then I again stop for a month and continue in this same cycle. I know the heart wants what the heart wants, but I wish it would be a little it simpler.

  • I also agree with you. I think by doing your goal everyday for 6 months it becomes a habit that you just do without thinking about. For example when we wake up in the morning we just brush our teeth without thinking about it. It is a habit. Your habit grows when pushing yourself to do it everyday. Although I know working out is a hard goal to do everyday and to stay committed to that. But like you said when that excitement dies down is when your real character comes out. Do you really want to make this change for yourself or do you really want to be a better person.

  • Thank you for this article, I couldn’t have read it at a better time! I am currently starting up a new healthy lifestyle myself and after reading this I believe it’s going to help me understand that I will fall off the track sometimes but it will be how I handle that failure that will truly show how much I want to succeed. I wonder if this could be used in an opposite effect, like what about people who pick up a bad habit? Let’s say smoking for example, starting it may be exciting for the person and after about a month or so they may start debating why they are participating in this activity. However, what if these bad feelings they have (failures) are what they were expecting or maybe people said you may feel crappy but that will go away and then they decide to continue their behavior for a half a year and become addicted? They were expecting to have a hump so they could get over it. Kind of scary to think about that this could be applied for healthy and unhealthy behavior. What do you think Ann? Is there a way we could use this theory to help addicts or people on the track to be addicted to healthy behavior? I know so many people who are addicted to getting energy drinks everyday and it’s almost impossible to change their mind about it. I don’t know, just something to think about.

  • Sticking with something is always key. For me, its a hard thing to do because I get bored easily, but Ive learned that it really does make all the difference in the end. For example, relating to my life, I was never one to want to work out all of the time because I was incredibly lazy and just didn’t want to take the time to do it. One summer I decided I was going to just suck it up and deal with it. I started working out every day, although I did have a workout partner for a little extra motivation. After around the six week peak, I actually noticed that I was getting in better shape and showing a small amount of definition. So after seeing that, obviously I never wanted to stop going to the gym. Positive results do come, but like with anything, it takes time! Thanks for posting Ann!

  • I tend to agree that people see the bad more than all the good they’ve done not just in their diets/nutrition but in life in general. Its kind of a pessimistic view of things to look at them like that. I tend to agree with you on the 6 rule, its hard t have the same look at sometime 6 months later but its not that it is a bad thing. Also a dog person and the heart wants what the heart wants when it comes to dogs thats for sure.

  • I fully agree, you just have to try to push through as hard as you can then habits start forming and it becomes earlier. However you also have to be careful that you don’t start to form bad habits because thats when trouble can start. I wish it was as easy as you said but once you are able to push through it becomes so much easier!

  • I think that is very true, six weeks is a good time frame to set standards because you won’t even see results till around then and if you stick with it you can see what you can accomplish through it.

  • I think setting realistic goals is one way to solve this probelm. Dont set out to run a marathon if you struggling to get to the gym a few times a week. We need to get the basics down and from there we can grow and expand our goals. This is something I have been working on and the more realistic I am the happier I seem to be!

  • Getting a puppy is great way to show the six days, six weeks, and six months routine. Everyone is so ecstatic when they get a puppy. Friends swoon over the puppy and you get super excited to walk them and play with them. Then you don’t sleep for 2 weeks and you and your home smell like poop, but no one gives up on a puppy. It’s stressful, but once more time goes by your puppy becomes a part of your family and you’re happier than ever. If people were as excited about a puppy as going to exercise America would look a lot different.

  • Unfortunately, I know all to well about how to plan for failure. Every semester its a new adventure and a new experience. Whether I take on 10 classes or 2 classes, I plan on doing great in the majority and terrible in 1 class. It NEVER fails. Take this semester for instance. I’m getting all A’s in my classes except for 1. There isn’t a reason why I am not doing well in that class. The class is far from boring and I understand the material. Maybe I took this article the wrong way, but I agree to plan to fail. I would much rather fail or not do so well in one of my classes than to fail or not do well in ALL of my classes. Thank you for letting me share. 🙂

  • Thanks for the response. I am curious for her response as well. Knowing her she’ll probably say don’t give up but it doesn’t look like she’s going to respond.

  • I first read this article over 9 months ago and I am currently in the middle of using the theory of 6’s on two different ventures in my life. I recently passed the six month mark and I think that it is an incredibly useful way to evaluate and goal set.

  • I’ve had many people who want to workout with a buddy and I because they believe they can turn out like us physique wise. I always tell them that it’s not us that does most of the work, but them. About 80% of those who worked out with us dropped out in the first 6 weeks and about 20% of them sticks to it, whether its with us or by themselves. I remember my six weeks and six months exercise program. It was a pain and I failed quite a bit creating a workout that will help me get bigger. But I stuck to it because I knew that if i kept doing it, I would eventually see results.

  • I like the whole looking at the positives vs the negatives approach. Negatives of exercise will depress you into not doing it. Positives will keep you going! Thank you

  • The negatives are hard to just ignore in my opinion. You must weigh your options and determine what is most important to you. If time, money, and energy are the most important factors when considering whether you should exercise or not, chances are you wont.But if your health and well being are the most important things, which they should be, then you probably will!

  • This is a really good example of the 6 days weeks and months system. I was having kind of a hard time thinking of something that could show how well it works clear as day, but a puppy is an awesome example!

  • I’ve found the same to be true! Being realistic with your capabilities when goal setting is a must in my book. Nobody likes to fail at a goal that they’ve set, so setting a realistic ones helps you to succeed.

  • I am going to have to agree with jack here. You have to want to change for the right reasons. Wanting to change for the wrong ones will backlash in the long term.

  • I really enjoy this article because this couldn’t be more true. Starting something new is easy, but keeping with it is definitely the hard part. I think we have all experienced that with something at some point in our lives. But when you start seeing the results you want if its something like exercise of eating better those results make it worth it and if you keep doing it long enough eventually it will be something you do without even thinking about it.

  • Reading this makes me think of the saying ” When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. I feel like some, like your self fall into this group. With that I mean setting a goal that you know is achievable, but difficult. Compared to others who set a difficult goal and fail because they don’t have the right tools.

  • That is great to hear. I think one concept that people underestimate is the power of time! No one is going to see immediate changes in a day and that is when people loose hope. Its great to hear that you haven’t lost your momentum.

  • I love how this blog is about a dog, but it is so universal to nearly all aspects in life. Reminds me of a relationship. Going through the honeymoon phase were everything is happy and cheery and absolutely perfect and nothing could ever go wrong. Then that settles down and you start to realize how much work it is, but, it tests your commitment to whatever it is you are applying yourself to. Whatever challenges you are faced with you take them on and fight through them and come out on the other end stronger and better for it.

  • couldn’t agree more Andrew, this blog is so universal in all aspects of life. i too thought right away of new relationships and the honeymoon phase we all encounter. sticking to something is hard to do. getting over the hump is the hardest part. but the longer you do something the easier it is.

  • I always like to think that when you encounter those tough times and you fight to make it better it means you truly care about that certain thing. Like a lot. I don’t know how to word it better than that haha. But when you encounter tough times in anything and give up was it worth it to start?

  • Agree if its not worth fighting for it just doesn’t seem worth it at all. i totally understand what you are trying to say haha.

  • stick with it for six months and you will decide whether you will keep it or not. You made me feel that six month is the time to actually run a “report” and have enough evidence or may be why something should stay in this case a business. If after a week we do not get any profits then you think you business did not work however you have to be able to compare data and I agree that six month will give you that data. And again whether you like it or not you had the chance to prove it, fail or not fail we have to be ready for both.

  • This is an excellent point, Garrett. Starting something new is always exciting because all you see are the positives in it. But once you start going you realize there is a lot more work and not as much glory as you realize. If I had to compare it to one thing in my life, it would be college soccer. When I first started I thought it would be just a fun time. Which it was don’t get me wrong. But I didn’t realize how much work it would be. Sure there were times where I wanted to quit because I’ve had enough of it. However, I’m so happy that I stuck with it until the end and it is something that I am very proud of.

  • Being an avid dog lover, and being oh too frustrated by the same dog sometimes….I definitely get the time comparison. When I first got my puppy he was only a couple of months old, fluffy, and cute. Then in only two weeks he managed to piss off my roommates, piss on my computer and damage it, and poop on the kitchen floor multiple times. It was clear that I was in it for the long haul when I made the decision that he was worth giving up where I lived to have him. I had to move out because no one was happy with me or him. Thinking back on this, I realize that no matter what my decision is….I should give it time and see if I can stick with it, just like I chose to stick with my dog even after a tough decision to move or get rid of him.

  • Too many times have I started something and then quit a couple weeks in, most of the time this pertains to an exercise or diet regime. I either get bored or too stressed out to find the time to keep going. This is obviously not a good pattern to follow especially since the benefits of exercising and healthy eating can improve my mood and decrease my stress. I need to find a way to make myself stick with it so that I can see the results at 6 weeks and then 6 months. Thank you for sharing!

  • You aren’t alone there! Everyone always starts something and then falls off of the wagon. I love the quote “you need to fail in order to succeed” because that is completely true. Hard work pays off and once you finally get there, it will be easy to stay on track because the results will be worth it!

  • I agree when you mention “setting realistic goals” because if your goals are not realistic, you are more than likely to fail. I like to always start small. Once you achieve the small goal, set a bigger one, and keep up that pattern!

  • My answer to your question would be, setting a small goal that isn’t the “6 months” time frame. Do a few weeks or something. Once you achieve something after a few weeks, you will see results, no matter what kind of goal you are talking about and this will help you push for that longer bench mark of 6 months.

  • Very insightful and I think this is a great way to look at taking on new challenges in our every day life. Too often we try to force good habits without properly planning them out and as soon as something goes wrong. This blog stood out to me because I think this philosophy is applicable in all aspects of life such as school/work/relationships

  • I totally agree. If we are able to go into something confidently while knowing that it might not go as planned, I think we’ll be able to excel at a higher level and learn from our mistakes and failures (if there are any). There’s the slogan “play to win instead of playing not to lose.” I do however believe that if you do try to do as many things as you can to avoid failure, you will for sure have a greater chance to succeed.

  • This is the perfect story for me. I have tried dieting and exercising programs and failed in a couple weeks more than i can count. There was one time, senior year of high school where i lost 60 pounds that year. I lost track once i went to college and gained most of it back but i still strive to lose weight. Motivation has always been a hard thing for me to hold on to. This has been a very inspirational article and very happy i read it.

  • Exactly, the hard work will definitely pay off and it will all be worth it in the end. Even if we keep failing as long as we try over and over again we will eventually achieve it. Giving up completely and never giving it another shot is not going to get you anywhere.

  • That is great. Once you find a routine that you like and you get into it, it is really easy to stay on track and stick with it. It is hard to help motivate someone who finds it boring or not helping them like your mom. I know my mom is the same way! We need to help motivate them and keep them motivated.

  • Thank you for the blog Ann,

    These article made me smile about your dog and I do agree that we must be patient so that we can have a happy life. When life changes to be harder, we should change our selves to be stronger. That way we can fight another day.

  • Failing is just another big part of the big game of life. I think one should embrace failure and then learn from their failure. When you learn from your failures, then you have to go and work your ass off in order to become successful or achieve a goal

  • There is nothing wrong with putting effort if one wants to become successful. With out failure we would not be successful or even reach success. I completely agree with you.

  • And I am sure a lot of people would agree with us. Only if others could learn that concept and then there would be more successful people, at least that’s what I think.

  • Thank you for sharing! This truly was helpful! Sometimes people, like myself, lose patience in certain positions they are working in. I do gymnastics and I like to see results sooner than possible when it comes to my skills and become frustrated in that. I need to be ready for tough days or expect to fail in some ways but use those days as growth instead to allow the proper habits or technique to really kick in.

  • If you make health a priority, like it should be, then obviously you will work out more. Too many people get wrapped up in other things that they fail to see how unhealthy they are. You only have one body and you need to treat it right, if you let other things like money, time, and energy get in the way of taking care of your body all of the time then odds are eventually you won’t need money, time, or energy because you will be too unhealthy or dead to do anything anyways. Health needs to be a priority.

  • Thank you for the post. I agree that most people are so exhilarated when they buy or start something new, but in about six weeks they get sick and bored of it and quit. For example, right after winter break the weight room is so incredibly filled. I see a ton of new faces that I can tell haven’t worked out much before. Since it was their New Year’s resolution, they feel energetic, but after about a month or so, you see the number of people start to get back to normal. That’s because people get bored and do not see their results. This is a terrible way of thinking.

  • I agree with this. Thanks for the post. We often jump into things expecting immediate results without planning what our schedule is or what our goals are. Everything worth having in life takes time and effort, and if we continue to give up on things, we will not be very happy with our lives.

  • My sophomore year in college I got a puppy. He was free because he was abandoned and needed a home or risked going to the pound. The first two months were great, I had the summer off from school so I could train him and was teaching him to be kennel trained when I was away at work. I didn’t have any roommate so unfortunately he learned really fast how to hold his bladder. Once school started reality sunk in, I was taking 14 credits and playing basketball for my college team. The time I had with him was not enough for a puppy. I often came home too tired to give him his mile walk that he oh so desperately needed and my apartment was just too small for him to get out all of his energy. I had to make the decision to give him to a friend who owned a farm where they could allow him to run around their fenced in back yard anytime he wanted and could give him the attention he needed. I took on more than I could handle and even though I miss him and think of him often I know in the long run It was the right decision. It was a lesson learned and something I learned from. I now often think about before making compulsive decisions.

  • I agree with you Eric! I am guilty of starting off on the treadmill for about a month, love it, but then get discouraged and tired out and am sick of creating time for it! I’m getting better though! But it’s such a cycle that your mind creates for you, it takes you have to a strong mental capacity to change your mental cycle.

  • I am the same way. I am the type of girl that will only choose to look at the positive. It’s amazing how fast a person’s mood can change based on finding a blessing in disguise. Positives will definitely keep you going, I know because I live it out everyday. Keep those negative thoughts away! 🙂

  • I totally agree with you on setting realistic goals, however it is nice to have a plan in the back of your mind. Something that ignites your motivation. So I guess I agree with you to an extent.

  • I totally agree with you in saying that as much as you do push hard, bad habits are going to form. I think you meant to say and it becomes easier instead of earlier, but either way it does become easier. The root of it all is self control, which everyone can master it just takes the motivation behind it!

  • I’m the same way with the working out stuff, but am getting better as well. This happens with anything that you get that’s new! My roommate gets the newest $500 game console and is tired of it within a few weeks…

  • Absolutely. The people who quit things after a short time don’t really WANT whatever it is they’re doing. It just isn’t their priority. Failing is part of life and you have to learn from your mistakes and downfalls.

  • I too loved this article! And I have always been struggling with getting back to the shape and weight I was when I was in high school. When I was a senior in high school I too lost a good amount of weight, however, when I came to college, I gained it all back, Now, fours years later I am still working towards my goal weight. I understand failure and I am prepared for it, but I work hard to avoid it the best way I could.

  • That’s why I never buy the newest thing, because something newer always comes out! Plus you’re usually over your “new” thing anyways. It’s a never ending cycle! 🙂

  • I agree with you Miggz13, the saying patience is a virtue is so annoying, but so true. When you are patient, everything seems to fit into place because you wait for it too. If you are not patient, you may make rash decisions that you wouldn’t usually make. When life takes us into tests, we have to push through! The testing of our faith/patience produces perseverance!

  • I like this article very much. It makes you realize that you will not succeed every single time, or rarely will you succeed at all. That is okay though. Without failures, you cannot perform in a different way and that new way will most likely help you do everything better in your life. Failures give you new perspectives on what you could do differently and how you can because a new and improved version of yourself. Thanks for writing this article!

  • I agree with your comment especially how without failing gives us new perspectives. Without failing we wouldn’t be where we are today. Failing is a big part of success

  • I’m not sure I’ve ever been advised to plan on failing. It’s comforting that you are taking such a real approach to lifestyle changes. Perfection is not realistic and if you set yourself up with impossible standards it will be impossible to make any consistent progress.

  • Finding a balance between having a high standard and knowing what is realistic is important when trying to be successful at something. Having too high of a standard could lead to failure, leading to depression and self-conscious decision making, where having a low standard could make everything seem too easy, ultimately leading to overconfidence or underestimation of your actual ability. So many things can contribute to goal setting, and how high of a standard you will set for yourself, but I think understanding success, accepting failure, improving upon that failure, and being able to set realistic goals is relevant in any job today. Thank you for sharing!

  • Okay this blog made me laugh, because I have met peanut and I can see him doing all of this. But yes I agree, a lot of people don’t make it 6 months in their new physically active lifestyle, and until they do it would be hard for me to call it their new lifestyle. If you don’t do it regularly for 6 months, is it really a lifestyle yet?

  • I may just be focusing heavily on semantics, but I very rarely use the word fail. An example, I may set a goal and not reach it when I expected to, but rather than viewing it as failure, I pressed on and viewed my display of resilience and tenacity as yet another success (of showing valuable personality characteristics) on top of the success of eventually meeting my goal. Sure, maybe my timing wasn’t exact, but in the end, I didn’t care too much on that because I’m not a fortune teller that can see into the future. Also, there have been goals that as I reached towards them, got outgrown as my priorities evolved. I never accomplished those outdated goals, but rather shifted my usage of time and effort for these newer, cooler goals. Again, I felt success that I accomplished a greater good rather than putting my head down in failure for passing by on the original goals (that I had planned for initially).

  • Takes time to figure something, anything out whether it is a plan or in your case the true nature of your dog.

  • This 6 concept is very interesting. In the past when I attempted to start a new diet or a new work out program, I would usually stop by the sixth week. I’ve really never thought about it like this. But it really does make sense that if you want to do something, you got to grind through it even though you might be bored of it. That is how you accomplish anything in life.

  • This blog is helpful when thinking about staying committed to things. Like you mentioned there is a honey moon period to everything, but that runs out and then there might be some sacrifice in order to make things go well. You start working out and you feel good and everything, but then going to the gym isn’t so fun anymore. It’s important to remember why you started or wanted to workout or wanted your dog in the beginning. If you really care about the things you’ve started you’ll keep going because through the ups and downs there is value to it all.

  • This article seems to be very relevant because it relates how you feel about the dog to every day life very well. I really like how you have devised a plan to give everything you know six months as a way to see how things will either improve or get worse. Also, I like how you said short coming failures are alright as long as you learn from them and reach your ultimate goal.

  • I really enjoyed the story about Peanut and hope you bring him into class soon:) This is all so incredibly true. No one is perfect, which means no one can succeed at something 100%. Either something goes quite wrong or you do good, but STILL there is always something you could have done differently or better. That is why planning to fail is a good mindset to have. When we plan to fail, we aren’t so devastated when we do, but we still push ourselves to aim higher and to not fail as bad next time. We have to remember we aren’t perfect and that failing will help us stick with whatever task we are trying to complete. The more times we try the better we become at it. We push past those obstacles and that behavior becomes easier and a part of who we are.

  • I definitely agree with this article and the fact that people usually give up on goals before six weeks. Our society expects immediate results when they start an exercise program. Otherwise, “it doesn’t work.” Usually by the sixth week of the semester, I want to give up on my classes and wonder if I really want to do this whole college thing. I know if I stick to it, I will be very content and accomplished once I am done. The six day, six week, and six month concept makes sense. Our society just has to remember that time is important and we cannot expect anything right away.

  • I did not know that it takes 6 weeks to break a habbit and to see results. It is definitely discouraging when trying to make for a healthier life style. After about 2 weeks I always want to give up. But now that i know to keep sticking with it, and after 6 weeks i will be more used to it, is good to know. I will also be able to apply this to my future because i will be stating a new job upon graduation and I know i will have to work hard until i get more used to it.

  • “The heart wants what the heart wants. Just takes about six months to figure it out.” I like that phrase because sometimes it takes time to figure something out. Everything takes time and patience. Six weeks is a long time for a habit to be broken. I used to bite my nails when I was younger and I broke the habit. It took a really long time to do.

  • It is crazy how long it takes to make something habitual.
    It feels like in the moment everything will go great and you can see yourself as a god with it all under control…well let me tell you that that lasts about a few days.
    It is unfortunate that habits take so long to actually get incorporated into our lives when so many of them can be for the better of us. Whether that is in the health aspect, social, occupational, what have you.
    What I find to be the hardest is finding encouragement along the way.
    When the outward results are very subtle, people don’t tend to take notice. Along with that is that this subtle change is a slow process, so if you look at it day to day-it can be hard to see progress.
    For example, imagine a 200 pound guy that wants to lose 40 pounds to be beach ready.
    Day 1 of exercise program: no weight change. (actually she may gain a pound or two because she’s hungry post workout)
    Day 2: return to initial weight
    Day 7: weight lose of 2 pounds…oh brother
    Day 125: weight lose of a total of 30 pounds…now we’re really talking.

    As a counter example, imagine your friend just got her bangs chopped off and 6 inches taken off her ends. Now that’s something that is immediately registered.

    I think that the most important thing is to see where people are and help push them along the way. And if there’s some bumps along the road, well what can you expect in human imperfection.

  • I didn’t really like this article until I saw your interpretation in this comment. The article said to get over a hump- plan to fail…and that it takes 6 months to figure out if your heart wants it….but I better relate with your comment that when things are new they’re filled with excitement and then that excitement dies down and when it dies down it tests your character to stick with it. I totally agree and relate to that. Thanks for the good comment!

  • Failure can be scary and we do not like to see ourselves in that situation. If we prepare ourselves and are aware, we will overcome that challenge.

  • The message in this blog is something that a lot more people need to remember with their health. We need to be patient and keep going. It is crazy how people stop their workouts or stop trying to break their habits right as they are about to see results. I think stopping or quitting the workout is partly because of everything we see in the media about “lose 5 pounds in a week”. We expect results to happen right away and get discouraged when they don’t. We just need to stay patient and keep working hard.

  • I really enjoyed this article, I have a puppy and have tried to start new ventures and have failed because you think you’ll still feel that rush in 6 weeks or 6 months. Getting back into school had me feeling the same way after taking a year off. You feel that rush of excitement then it slowly dwindles. I look at it like I am bettering myself with all these new ventures, I push myself through the tough times because “the heart wants what the heart wants.”

  • This is nice to know. It gives me something to look forward to, and hope. I can go into my new behavior change knowing not to give up if I dont see immediate responses because it takes that amount of time for something to become a habit. 6 weeks is a long time, but you can only better your happiness and health for the future by starting out today. I just start working out again, so knowing that it takes that long to start to feel like its going somewhere is good to know because that means even if I had the slightest doubt and thought about cancleing my membership I know I should be giving it atleast 6 weeks! But, I do not plan on stopping anyways! I want it – and you’re right – the heart wants what it wants.

  • I love when you bring peanut to class!! 🙂 It is so heart warming that people still rescue dogs and that they have their own happy endings.

  • Great comparison. This made me think very critically. The info. above is so true. I have had many burnouts with workout plans but this helps me put things in a different perspective, one I haven’t approached before. It goes to show that getting results form anything doesn’t entail some magic formula, it’s life.

  • I agree with you. Some people want to see results right away and that just isn’t real life. People need to stay patient and realize that losing 5 pounds in a week might not actually work for them. The media shows fast results and some find this very discouraging.

  • Exactly. There are so many people that stop before they even get to where they want to be, including me. I have had my own experiences where I didn’t run as fast I wanted to and didn’t think my training plan was working, but I had to keep sticking it out and see. Health takes time just like school and work do, and we just need to be patient and keep sticking with it.

  • I really liked this blog, it really makes people realize that things don’t always work out how you want at first, and when that happens, keep moving forward. When you keep moving forward it gets you closer to where you want to be. Success does not come right away. It takes time and patience. Through a postive mind and never giving up, the results will eventually start to show. Thank you for sharing this article!

  • Reading this blog, I feel like it all makes sense. I, myself have been through this. I get so motivated to eat healthier and to start exercising more and when I do start, I stick with it but once I start to see the results I want, I see it as an opportunity to reward myself with chocolate or something unhealthy. When instead, I should just be proud of myself and come to my senses that the only reason I am seeing the results that I want, is from not eating the junk food. I admit it is hard to stick with something but like Ann said in her blog, that if you just stick with it, you’ll have it all figured out.

  • I think this blog can tie back to several of her other blogs. Planning to fail will really help when you are trying a new exercise, just as making sure the new exercise routine fits you and your goals will help. I’ve watched some of those infomercials for P90X or Insanity and there’s even a new one that I can’t remember the name. Every time I see them they say “motivational” things such as “how bad do you want it” and I just watch them thinking “not THAT bad!” That is not the exercise routine for me. But if I do something easier, something that even if I fail at it, I’d want to try again, then that is the exercise for me. This also can relate to the blog on faking it til you make it. Success is not something to fake. But looking elsewhere for successes is good. You may not have met your goal for walking 5000 steps, but you beat your daily average for number of steps! (that was me yesterday). Success and failure are something you get to decide for your own life.

  • I really like this blog, with the comparison of getting peanut to starting an new exerise program. This goes to show that you should never give up when life gets hard just always push through and seek support from family, friends or professional counseling as well.

  • I really like this blog. My question is, do you think this approach could apply to alcoholics? Should they plan to fail and not approach their new behavior as an all or nothing proposition? Should the supporting family of the alcoholic approach the problem with expectations that short term failures might occur?

  • In my opinion, yes. No matter the circumstance (unless if it is your life hanging on the line at that very moment) I think planning to fail and making short term bursts towards a goal is extremely important when trying to be successful, whether it is battling alcoholism or not. I think an all or nothing proposition should be used only in emergency situations, such as if your dog is about to pee all over your furniture or something….ha. But otherwise I like the idea of setting short term goals and planning to fail at them, but then learning how to achieve them and get better. The supporting families should be there for support and just try to help the individual stay motivated to keep trying. What do you believe is one of the hardest parts about staying motivated to reach a short term, or long term goal? Good questions, thanks for sharing!

  • I think having a good support system is very important. If you have a friend always asking why you’re eating healthy and working out, it is very demotivating.

  • I can relate to this blog in many aspects in my life from exercising, to stop chewing tobacco, to eating healthy, etc… I often give up when the going gets hard. I think it’s important to push and challenge yourself, but I have figured out that if I push myself to the extreme and feel like I failed, I give up. I think it’s important to take one day at a time and stick with your goals. It also helps to have support from a friend, a co worker, a family member or a classmate. When I adopted my cat, I also had a honey moon phase with her. I thought she was so sweet. A few months later, she became very aggressive and mean. I knew several people that gave their pets back to the shelter if their animal wasn’t behaving to their liking. I couldn’t give up on my cat and could never give her back to the shelter. Just like a human, we go though different stages in our lives. Some stages are great and some stages are not so great. It’s important that we have don’t give up on ourselves and that our friends, family, and others continue to provide support and encouragement as well. My cat is still mean, but she can be sweet at times.

  • This is a very accurate article seeing that I often find myself doing the same thing except for with my nutrition. I usually can stick to my diet for a good three or four days and then it slowly starts to slip back into the same trends that I have adapted over my life until now of eating bad foods. It helps a lot when you stick to goals in order to see their full benefits.

  • I can honestly relate to this and I feel that I do the same thing. I will try to eat more nutrient dense foods and reduce my calories and work harder in the gym and upon getting desirable results I will come out of my good habits and return to the same way I was before I started.

  • I agree with both of you! But I also think that people shouldn’t buy into those programs like ‘lose 5 pounds in one week’ so easily. They need to realize like everything else in life that it will take time and dedication to see results.

  • There are many times in life that we “go for gold” in everything that we do, and we are constantly downing ourselves in sorrow and misery when it doesnt work out. This is one of the most valuable lessons I have learned from class lectures and blogs about this topic. I have learned to plan to fail everything now and it has shown me great improvements for my outlook. Though it is a good topic, I do not like the relation to the dog as it did not make sense to me unfortunately.

  • I love the application of the six week rule in everyday circumstances rather than in just a diet setting. You discussed the six week rule in class today and it put into perspective just how hard it is to get use to a change in your life.

  • You said it perfectly! I totally agree with you that the excitement will die down. I have had that personally happen. It is a matter of sticking with it no doubt. If you can achieve it for six months you are totally in the clear!

  • I think this theory is true to everything, including relationships. In the beginning it is all wonderful and perfect. Then you start to really know the person you are dating. There are things you don’ t like, and habits that annoy you. But, if you can get past that and like that person for who they really are then the relationship will work.

  • I have seen this exact same thing happen! I don’t work at a gym, but I do work out a lot and have had many friends come in and say they were going to get fit. A few weeks later I would talk to them and they would come up with an excuse as to why they weren’t working out anymore. It definitely takes a certain amount of time to make sure that working out is a habit before it sticks. Even when I take breaks from working out, I have this issue with starting up again and repetition is definitely the key to success in this situation.

  • I can admit that I am guilty of striving for perfection and in turn, focusing more attention on short-term failures than on long-term successes. However, I have found that by taking things day by day or even minute by minute if need be, goals seem much more attainable. The six-week hump also seems much easier to get over, and by maintaining that attitude, I can soon look to the six month hump. Great advice, Ann!

  • its crazy how true ive found this in my own life. I will have a random hobby im so passionate about for a couple of days and then completely forget about it after 6 weeks. I think some people do the same thing with their bodies

  • Agreed. I didn’t really realize this until you said it, but those random hobbies don’t last too long unless you stick with them, and many people do the same with their bodies, diet, etc…

  • Everyone wants to have the results show after just a week of doing whatever they are doing but that’s not a realistic goal. Everything takes time and the six days, six weeks, six months is a good rule everyone should try and follow.

  • I’ve personally noticed this when trying to eat healthier and trying to lose some weight it is really easy to start to eat better and start to lose the weight but its even easier to stop what you are doing and go back into your bad habbits.

  • Something to think about before committing to doing something is to make sure we actually want to do. Most things are exciting at the start, but as Evan said that excitement dies out. I think its important to think hard about things before we jump into them. Make sure your going to be able to enjoy the work your doing and be able to do them in a healthy way.

  • I’ve never heard, six days, six weeks, six months rule but then again some marriages only last six months.

  • It’s actually kind of shocking to me that 50% of people that start an exercise program drop out by six weeks due to a drop in excitement. I think in order for this to change we all need to dedicate ourselves to something for six weeks and see the difference, and keep pushing through.

  • This totally hits home for me. It’s always hard for me to start exercising. It’s always a battle between “Do I have the time?” and “Do I have the energy and motivation?” Once I suck it up and actually go workout I feel so much better and usually keep it up. The thing that gets me every time about exercising is that it’s so hard to start but it’s so easy to skip, make an excuse and skip again, and continue on that path. The biggest thing I need to do is not skip and if I do just get off my lazy butt and go workout.

  • This blog is very insightful, because I can completely relate to this such feeling. A feeling of hitting the hump and maybe not always getting over it. Maybe sometimes you do fail, but then that brings on a whole new load of excitement when you try something new. If you love something as much as you do in 6 months just like you did after 6 days, you have found the right thing for you do to.

  • I definitely agree with this. i have been working at my workplace a little over than six months now and i feel like i am more open to my coworkers, and now i am even training new workers. sometimes the excitement dies down but i feel like i am in it for the long haul.

  • I really enjoyed reading this blog! I find that the comparison is actually quite fitting. I can really relate to this, I have struggled with staying motivated to eat health and workout consistently… I tend to do really well the first couple of weeks but then the excitement dwindles and I find myself going back to old habits. I think the key to sticking with something is that we have to remember that there is a goal we are trying to
    achieve that is at the end of the tunnel so we just need to keep doing things one day at a time because eventually it will turn into a new daily habit.

  • I enjoyed this blog the most because the exercising completely applies to me. I feel as though I am always restarting a “lifestyle change.” I have to restart because I am always quitting. Even if I have seen results or noticed a change in my energy level, I still run out of steam and find myself back where I started. I will definitely keep six days, six weeks, six months” in my head the next time I start a lifestyle change.

  • Sara, you make a great point. People need to realize that if they want results they cannot just diet or just workout and eat whatever that want. Having a combination can give people results faster while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It always takes time!

  • I totally agree with your opinion! When people try new things, they expect the best out of them, no matter what that thing is. However, once something starts to turn out not as we had pictured, we often stop what we’re doing or quit whatever it is we were experimenting with. I know it is hard to do, but people need to not just quit when things get hard or if things are not what we expect. When we expect the best out of something, we fail to realize that the “best” of that thing may come after a few failures and challenges. Getting over those humps and working through the rough times might bring out better things than we could ever have imagined. Thank you for sharing!

  • I totally agree! When we first start with something, we have that initial excitement to be doing it. As time goes on, though, we keep wanting to experience that initial excitement that we felt when we first started, and it can be hard to replicate that. I really like your comment about having the character to stick with something. Once something loses its original “shine”, lots of people look for other things that catch their eye. People with high character will realize the real reason why they chose to start, and will stick with it.

  • Thank you for sharing! I have seen many people try out for sports teams in college and end up quitting because it’s either not what they pictured or they run out of steam, like in your case. One thing people can try is similar to what Ann proposed: keep with things for a day. Then go for another. And another. Soon you’re up to a week. Then two. And eventually it starts to add up. Another helpful thing I do when I run is write down all of my mileage on a calendar. Over time, I can look back at all of the progress I have made and that motivates me to keep going.

  • I have gone through a similar phase. For about 2 weeks I was eating really healthy food and stayed away from unhealthy options. After a while, I ended up “rewarding” myself with some unhealthy foods. After that, it was hard to stick with those really healthy options that I was keeping up. I agree that I need to realize the reason why I started those healthy eating habits and understand that that goal at the end will help us turn our new behaviors into habits. Thank you for sharing!

  • Thank you for sharing! Often people think that when they try something new, everything will always be what they envisioned when they started, but that isn’t always the case. When things get difficult and we run into those little failures, I myself have found it hard to keep going with whatever I am doing. Once we break things up and go day by day like you mentioned, those long-term successes can seem easier to accomplish.

  • I totally agree! During cross country I got injured right during a period when I was in the best shape of my life. The next 7 months of recovery and rehab made it difficult to stay with running. In the end, however, the hard work that I put in to come back from my injury got me into even better shape than before. It takes time to change your view on how the failures can make you better, but once you can see that failing helps in the long run, we will be able to stick with things much longer than before.

  • I think many people are afraid of failure as well, so when then hit that hump, they begin feeling uncomfortable and maybe even second-guessing their decisions. I believe the tendency is often to turn in run the other way when people hit the hump. However, I have found that when I choose to lean into the uncomfortable and unchartered territory, that is when I experience the most personal growth. It is true that nobody is perfect, and we will all experience some form of failure/disappointment in our lives. But I also think those times help us appreciate the successes and accomplishments of our lives just as much!

  • I loved this blog! It is very true that we get so excited with our new routines but as time goes on we get bored or not as committed. By the time we reach that six month mark, we should feel proud that we stuck with something for so long instead of quitting it. If people start losing interest in in the activity they started, they should try to remember the motivation and reasoning behind why they started it in the first place.

  • I did the same exact thing! It is so easy to stick with healthy eating for about the first two weeks, but then there’s a period where craving unhealthy food becomes overpowering. It can be so hard getting over that hump of getting back into the routine of working out and eating healthy after eating unhealthy, but I always try to remember my health goals. I always realize that I feel a lot happier and have more energy anyways when I live a healthier lifestyle.

  • It is easier said than done to keep an excitement for something that we try to commit ourselves to. But I do agree that we should be motivated every day to make a positive difference for ourselves and stay dedicated to what we first made our goal.

  • I agree! It can be hard to stick with something. Usually I get stressed out about keeping a routine of healthy living and that causes me to eat unhealthy and stop working out. I need to learn to prioritize my health and make working out and eating healthy meals non negotiable.

  • 6 months is the least amount of time that I would do something…and if I still don’t like it, then I would consider other options. However, having that failing mentality is different than be a realist. Being a realist and knowing what goes on in this world. Knowing possible outcomes is something that should be definite knowledge when going along with something new. Knowing that there is the possibility to fail should be in the back of your mind, but that doesn’t mean that you should dwell on it. Or even expect it.

  • Good point. Remembering why we are doing something is the best motivation to keep going. If it is a new workout routine and we get sick of it after 6 months and slow down…we just have to remember why we started it in the first place!

  • Agreed! It almost seems like I go through phases with working out.. I will go consistently for a few weeks, and then stop for some reason because I feel that I’m doing good and making progress. I am guilty of this on numerous occasions. It is soooo easy to make excuses as college students. There is always something that we could be doing for one class or another, but in the long run…it’s our health that will get us the farthest!

  • Everything seems so much more exciting when we start out. Then about 6 weeks into it the excitement has been killed and many people tend to quit. Knowing that it takes about 6 months to get a habit to stick better, that is the first part of my goals. If I want to give something up for good, my goal is at least 6 months, and no it is not easy, but if it was a goal and worth doing in the first place it should still be worth it and worth even more once completed.

  • I haven’t heard about the six days, six weeks, six months theory until now. It is a very useful technique even if reduced or increased accordingly. It is interesting to step back and notice the time it takes in order for the human body to adapt and change. Whether it be choosing what to eat for lunch, or deciding the best way to lose extra pounds, there are a variety of ways in which the body can change and each requires a specific amount of time. Now it is up to us as individuals to figure out how we must use our time wisely and according to our vital needs.

  • Very interesting how you compared having a dog to health programs. I never heard of the 6 days, 6 weeks, 6 months quote before. I also found it interesting that 50 percent of people stop their exercise programs at 6 weeks when positive results start to flourish. It seems like people now days a so impatient and would rather turn to a “magic pill” to solve their problems.

  • I have never heard the phrase the heart wants what the heart wants and it is so true. We cant always control what we want, it just happens sometimes. Over time however we can start to change our minds but you just stick with it and it all works out in the end.

  • It is really a good topic. The way which health came out on this story was really appropriate. Habits and routines which mold our daily schedule aiming health will fail sometimes; unpredictable destiny. But the persistence is a vital point to success.

  • I really enjoyed reading this blog. I also have a rescue dog that we have had for about 2 years now. When I first went to the shelter I new right away which dog I wanted and could tell the same feelings were mutual. It is very exciting when you first start out with something, but after a while excitement can slowly fade. I really like the way you expressed that you should stick with something as those behaviors become who you are. If you truly have a passion for something your heart will continue to follow back to it.

  • I completely agree! I often find that the excuse I make the most is that I’m sick or have too much too do….but then I make that excuse over and over again. And then, like you said, I feel guilty for missing and then see that all that sitting around is destroying all the progress I made with exercising. I think that I just need to schedule a specific time either every day or every other day and have an alarm go off to tell me to go exercise.

  • The phrase, “the heart wants what the heart wants” is so true. This definitely translates to other avenues in life. After the initial shock value wears off its possibly to shy away from the desire you first had but sticking to your goal will ultimately provide results.

  • This blog is absolutely mind blowing me. Planning to fail at what you start could also be applied to other situations as well but towards your health is really smart. Switching up your kind of workout might help so you don’t stop working out or switch up the kinds of food you eat might help you not fail. But going into a idea with failing might help me out with staying on track to workout.

  • I love the last line of this blog because it is a great reminder that our hearts yearn for something at some point, and although we may lose sight or wonder why it did, it will always put your mind and heart to a test. Why did I want this ever? What do I do now that I already feel committed? It helps you look at yourself and wonder if you made the right decision and if not, how will you choose to fix it.

  • I would agree with this as well. I don’t always like to use the word failing, because it can be very discouraging going into something and feeling like you are going to fail at it. I think it’s important to keep a positive mindset and outlook. If your unsuccessful, that’s okay! It’s important that you have the tools and the supports in place to try again. There has been countless times where I started an exercise routine and then gave up. I felt like a failure, but I realized that if I don’t try again, my life will probably spiral out of control. I’ve heard that you sometimes have to hit “rock bottom” before you can see the silver lining. I have been in those situations several times in my life and things always seem to work out in the end.

  • I agree with you. I make excuses all of the time, but I always feel better once I work out. It’s important to be honest with yourself, because the lies and excuses will only you feel bad about yourself in the long run. I feel like if I am going to skip a workout, I should replace it with another healthy activity. If I am not going to go to the gym, then I will try to make a healthy meal for myself and then take a walk around the block. If I don’t go to the gym, then I try to clean the house declutter my things. It makes my life seem less stressful and then I won’t be able to make excuses.

  • the heart wants what the heart wants. that phrase is always true not matter what. we can control what we want but to a certain extent but at the end of the day the heart will always win and will be right in the end.

  • couldn’t of said it any better. when I hit challenges I often want to turn away cause I feel unsure with myself if im doing the right thing. I always go for the for sure thing im not a risk taker and sometimes I wish I would lean on the uncomfortable and unchartered territory like you said. having success and having accomplishments give us confidence do to more.

  • Exactly! I couldn’t agree more with you that being truthful to yourself is huge. That’s a great idea about doing healthy activities or alternatives if you don’t workout. I’m definitely going to have to try that the next time I skip a workout.

  • Thank you for this blog. I love the quote you said “So how do you get over the hump? Plan to fail.” It made me think about it for minute. It opened my eyes and sometime thing don’t goes as plan. thank you a again

  • I Agree with you in something. I also have the some things happened to me but I also think the excitement somewhat dies. So I try find thing new to try out. thank you for post this.

  • I agree somewhat. I have experience the excitement dies but I try to find new thing to get better at. thank you for post this. You made some good points

  • Thank you for posting this. I love how you worded this. You are right on the heart will always win at the end of the day. You made good point.

  • I agree on with you I also love the last line of her blog. I love the point that you made about we may lose sight or wounder why. I have a big conscience so I ask myself the some questions all time so you are not the only one. Thank you for posting this it help me think about it.

  • I agree with you on that points. I have heard the phrase the hear wants what the heart wants. But I feel you can change mind sometime. Thank you for posting this it help look in to the phrase a little better

  • I feel that I give up when the going gets tough too and also procrastinate on things that I don’t really want to do or that seem like the most work. I’m experiencing that now with finals right around the corner. Instead of doing blogs every week like I was planning or reading a book in one of my other classes, I put all of that off because I had other things that seemed more important at the time or I simply didn’t want to do them. Now I’m down to the wire to complete everything. I need to stop putting off things I don’t want to do and just push through.

  • O my you made some really good point. I really understand that when you get a new routines you are so excited and then we get bored with it. I have been there and it sucks. Thanks for posting this. Have you been there?

  • I am a firm believer in “sticking to something you love”. I will always play basketball until I cannot walk anymore because I love the game so much. Its a part of me and its a sport that I grew up loving to play but school work at times is the total opposite. I get excited about coming back to school and seeing everyone after the summertime and while I am still trapped in that excited time during school, I get behind and it sometimes causes me to panic later on. I loose interest in school which is very bad but I have managed it better every single year and thats a accomplishment itself.

  • Do you think the honey moon stage is a bad stage or the stage we need to make that jump into the unknown? I personally think we need those 6 days in order to be happy and understand what we working for.

  • I really like this blog, with the comparison of getting peanut to starting an new exerise program. This goes to show that you should never give up when life gets hard just always push through and seek support from family, friends or professional counseling as well. I have had a hard semester but glad there is alot of support on campus that is open for student on UWW campus. Personally I have use the counseling center many time to help me with the rough issues that I am currently facing these semester.

  • I love this! Everything seems so much more exciting in the beginning. Its like the “honey moon phase” of a relationship where everything is perfect. But things do eventually change and you have to make changes yourself by trying new things! But if you can do something for 6 months then in in it for the long haul!

  • Thank you for your insight. The heart is a hard thing to disagree with and you will not win when you try to. In the end you need to trust your heart and go with it.

  • Great point, Alex! Success definitely builds confidence, making us more apt to try new things. I think a lot of this depends of people’s definition of “failure” as well. Often things may not go as planned, but I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason. “Failure” should be seen as a learning experience and another form of success. I don’t think you’re not failing anything if you’re learning.

  • I agree, I believe the most successful people or the most athletic people have failed many times but unlike some they just back up and didn’t give up. they knew what they had to do and figured out how to get results they always wanted. if you truly love something or love what you do then you fight for it no matter what knocks you down.

  • I definitely have experience excitement and have noticed in in others as well. When you find something new that you like, you want to do it all the time and you think you’re never going to get sick of it because you love it so much. Once you find something you really enjoy, it is important to make goals for yourself and stick to them so you don’t lose that excitement and give up on something you have been working hard for.

  • Great point, Desiree! I truly believe that experiencing difficulties throughout life and in achieving your goals is essential to learning and growing as a person. It’s a cliche quote, but I believe it’s true that “anything worth having never comes easy.” As frustrating as an obstacle may be in the moment, I think facing the obstacle head on and discovering ways to get past it is the beauty in life. “Knocked down seven times, stand up eight.”

  • We tend to think that obstacles are a dead end, thinking that what is actually just an temporary problem is a final result is what leads us to stop trying. It is important to remind yourself to look at the scheme of life and rationalize if the problem really is helpless. Giving yourself reminders as to why you took on that problem in the first place is important for you to persevere. Motivation might have a short time span of which ends when a problem arises, but it is important to bring that determination back when a hump does arise.

  • Being a baseball player, I understand the idea of learning from your mistakes, and getting over your own failure. If one can learn to do that, they will become far better off. Learning from failures makes you a stronger, and wiser person.

  • These ideas can also apply to a relationship. The excitement of a new relationship can be wonderful. But sustaining a relationship is a struggle. Looking back at your life before the start of your relationship, and comparing those feelings to your current feelings will give yourself a great idea as to how your relationship is going.

  • I find this blog very useful. These are great life leasons that many people need to learn, even me.

  • Always plan to fail. It is soo important. This is probably my favorite article from Ann because I always tell my team, if you are making mistakes, then you are learning. Do something until you can’t get it wrong instead of doing something until you get it right.

  • That is for sure. I hate that feeling of guilt and disappointment. I think it’s important to start out small so you don’t get too burnt out. I get really discouraged when I don’t lose weight as fast as I should be. I think it’s important to stick with it. It will take a few weeks for your body to detox and get used to eating heather.

  • Planning to fail is such an important aspect of getting anywhere. The difference between progress and being stagnant is how we handle failure. There are those who let the failure motivate them, and those who let it control them. By planning ahead and coming up with a plan for how to move past failure, we can use it continue pushing forward – more successfully than the first time.

  • i love planning to fail; then i dont feel so bad about failing that i give up forever. but i do usually have to go into things all or nothing. i have no moderation control with certain things… coffee is a perfect example. I am either off coffee or on it completely.. haha

  • I find this blog extremely useful because it has to do with every day life. When you pick up a new habit or have a new goal you are excited and have a better chance to sticking with it. As time rolls on you lose some interest and have a much better chance of dropping the current habit you recently picked up. When this time comes you need to stick it out and not just give up. If you can make it to that 6th month the habit will become part of your daily life and most likely you won’t drop that habit. If you have a goal stick with it and never give up! Thanks for the blog Ann!

  • This post reminds me of the “Fake it ’til you make it” blog. A lot of similar ideas that you went over that are really useful in life. Sometimes I think we are so focused on the downside of failure we rarely ever see the upside to it.

  • This comment really sums up my thoughts on this blog exactly. I wasn’t entirely hooked at first until she brought up the excitement of something new, and I find that relevant in my life with most things.

  • Thanks for the Article Ann! It is such an interesting perspective that i never really thought of before taking your class. Lots of times i would set goals only ever expecting to succeed but when i fail it makes it much harder to pick myself up and start again. understanding and planning for some failure makes it much easier to not get discouraged.

  • Ohhh my have i seen and experienced this before. I do like to go for runs. I like them because it allows me to go out and clear my head and just get away from everything. I always try to get into a routine running schedule but it always falls through. This article will definitely help me to try and push through the excuses of why i dont have time to go for a run. I also have watched this happen numerous times with my friends new relationships with their girlfriends. I warn them every time that feelings will start to fade and they’ll realize that spending every waking moment with their new found love is a bad idea. They never listen. That 6th month mark is such a real statistic.

  • I agree with you. Honestly i feel like if you can do something for six months, you obviously must enjoy doing it by then. You’re right, by then it will become of your daily routine and you wont even think twice about it anymore.

  • They absolutely do! Often times my friends will get into a relationship and they will spend every waking second with their new found love. I always warn them not to do this because sooner or later you will gradually start finding things out that you don’t like about them or they might run out of things to talk about. Relationships are a lot of hard work but if they make it past that 6 month deadline then i would say that relationship has a fighting chance.

  • When we fail it can teach us a valuable lesson. However, we have to realize that we failed in order to correct it. So i agree with you and the article, that by planning to fail you will be more apt to realize it.

  • Spending every second together can be a good thing! If the ultimate goal is marriage, spending time together goes hand in hand. Being able to spend plentiful amounts of time together should be a good thing!

  • I guess an example i was thinking of was a close friend. He had just started dating his new girlfriend and they spent everyday together. He lost touch with friends and became totally engulfed in her. I believe everything is good in moderation. Lets just say his relationship isn’t going very well. You’re definitely right if the ultimate goal is marriage but i don’t think he has even thought about that yet! lol So my example could have been a poor one of choice because it was a bit extreme.

  • I get you. Losing sight of what you had is never good. Even if you possibly had something “better” come along, you can’t forget about where you came from!

  • I love planning to fail, this was the best advice you have our class this semester. When I plan to fail I no longer feel about failing. So like when I fail this class I won’t feel bad about it because I’ll just get mot exposure to this wonderful knowledge next semester. Just kidding I don’t think I am filling your class. I hope not. But planning to fail is a great tool to be used to get over to levels of achievement. This tool allows you to push yourself within tofu constant let down and dissoinpment

  • I also believe that you should stick to something you love. It really isn’t worth giving up even if there are times that you have failed or became unsuccesful.

  • I agree that it is so difficult to get out of the slump of not eating healthy or not working out. And I think it is important to set goals to help remind us that we are trying hard to achieve something. Because like you said it makes us feel so much better and happier when we are living a healthy lifestyle!

  • I think the problem is that when people start an exercise program they are continually doing the same thing over and over again and never really changing it up. I agree that we need to stick with something for 6 week to be able to see the result of looking and feeling better and then continue going because you start to realize that it is actually rewarding if you work towards it!

  • I never really thought of it like that but it is so true! I completely agree that at first it is wonderful and perfect and then you really start to get to know them and something really bother you but I think it is all about getting past it and if in 6 months it still really bothers you than you aren’t probably suppose to be with that person.

  • I can relate, McKenna. I am a perfectionist, and often get discouraged when I set too high of goals. I think resorting back to setting SMART goals is the way to go. Understanding that we as humans will experience setbacks along our health journey is crucial as well. I believe how one responds to setbacks tells a great deal about their character and commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

  • Good point, Steven. I think when we experience obstacles along the path to improved fitness, it’s easier to focus and dwell on the tough times than to remember how far we have come. With consistency, changes are always being made inside the body. Although we cannot always see the differences on the outside, which is tough part, the body is adapting and improving each time we make a positive health decision, such as working out.