It has been a long time since I watched Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood on a regular basis and yet I continue to gleam lessons from the program, one of which I would like to share with you today.
One question I hear a lot is how it is possible to get fit and stay fit? How is it possible to keep a good diet when there are so many tempting foods out there ready to add a stone to your scale just by your looking at it? The answer can be found if you are familiar with the way that the show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood works.
For my whole childhood, it was pretty much always the same. At the beginning of the show, Mr. Rogers would come into his studio home and, while singing “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”, change from his outdoor shoes to his indoor shoes and put on a cardigan after taking off his jacket. I cannot think of a single episode of the show when I was watching it that didn’t start off that way. He would then talk to us — the audience — about a variety of subjects, usually sending us to the Land of Make Believe to bring home an important lesson.
At the end of every episode, he would get ready to go by changing back into his outdoor shoes and putting on his jacket while singing “It’s Such a Good Feeling” and then (depending on what day of the week it was) would sing about seeing you the next day or the next week. Every single day — outside shoes off, inside shoes on, jacket off, cardigan on.
The name of the game is consistent. It doesn’t matter if you work out like the best of the best for two weeks straight if you then follow it up with doing nothing. This is the very reason that diets, no matter how good they might seem, will ultimately fail — you eat a certain kind of food or kinds of food, or restrict your caloric intake for a period of time but you eventually go back to eating the “normal” way you were and the weight all comes back.
If you can get into a routine of working out every day for ten minutes and stay consistent and do it every day, after a month you will be much less likely to quit — and you can then work your way into longer workouts or perhaps more difficult ones. When you are able to do this, you will be so much better off than a person who just did an intense workout program for a few weeks and then did nothing afterward. Similarly, if you can start planning out your meals for the week and stick to the 85% / 15% rule (85% of your diet should be clean, so to speak, with the allowance for 15% less than optimal foods like candy, cake, etc.) you can do a lot better than a person who goes on a cabbage diet for three months. Will that person lose weight? Sure — but it will come back once the diet is over. Will you do better than that in the long run?
Yes — as long as you are consistent. That is what I learned from Mr. Rogers.