I have had a couple of people ask about the keto thing as I approach the one year mark, and then a couple of asks about long-term practices that aren't food/diet related. Some of this is about managing an intentional way of eating, but also about physical/strength/movement training, and also magical/sacred arts work.
The questions usually go "How do you make yourself be compliant for a whole year? It's hard to stay the course." This can be about food, physical training, or magical/spiritual practices. Each has its own nature, and I approach them all in the same general way, while taking the specifics of each into account.
First on the food & nutrition thing. For me, I have to actually understand/know a few things upfront. I want to know what's likely to happen on the metabolic front. I want to know where people hit snags doing what I am thinking of. I need to have an idea of why I think this would be good for me. What changes do I expect to see if I do this thing? I need to lay out a map of what I think I can ride with food wise. What does a day or a week of eating like this look like? Can I see enough variables (and this will be different for everyone) so that I can modify what I am doing in the specific but still hit all my targets? <(This is huge, IME). I need to understand I won't be 100% on track. In my case, I'm cool with having an off meal here or there. This is usually on the once a month/twice a month level for me, as any more than that I can get derailed, and any shooting for less is just sort of silly, though I often manage it fine. So I'll be traveling (which is exceeding rare for me) next week and I won't worry about this much. Next, I want to know HOW will I go off the rails when I do. So, what have I and my plan decided is OK as things to eat when I am feeling like I need something else. Keto is super low carb by definition, so I can blow my tastebuds & mind with something like a sweet potato or an apple. This means I can fit those in a few times a month as my treats without actually do any harm to my intentions. In other words, how can I set myself up so that even when I need some slack, I'm actually still operating within my plan? This way there is no concept of 'cheating'.
All of the above takes into consideration that it IS hard to stay the course unless the course already accepts that there will be deviations. So I avoid all wheat. But I'm cool with having it a few times a year, as I have a pretty mild reaction to it. If I was celiac I'd never touch it. For a lot of people, rice is the most neutral grain and they might go that way and plan to have Sushi when they travel. I'd rather have Mexican and corn tortillas and the like.
So the 'plan' for me has to have these acceptable, intentional options for stepping outside of the daily/weekly thing. And I also don't schedule them. I'm not trying to see "how much of x___ I can get away with". I'm setting myself up for success by having some breathing room in place and knowing the minimum effective dose to achieve my goals, and then not relying on the planned deviations as a crutch (ie, emotional eating), which tends to derail me completely.
Physical training is pretty much the same. I have components I have chosen to prioritize, which are few. Then I have other pieces that are good for me given my intent, and I want to touch those frequently, but as they aren't the actual priority, if I am pressed for time, or haven't slept well, or am swamped in the shop, I let them slide for a bit. The important thing is the same as in the food/nutrition thing: this is a part of my plan.
Here's how I do this. I know I want, barring illness or injury, 2-3 strength training sessions a week. This is the priority. This will happen. So my strength sessions are only 3 exercises that 'have' to happen 2-3x a week, and another 3 or 4 exercises/movements that 'would be cool' if they happened a couple of times during that week. This allows me to do my bare minimum (the 2-3 priorities, which take about 25 minutes per session) or the whole thing (about an hour) whichever makes sense each day, and still be on target with my plan. There are other components, too. I like to walk/run/bike for 30-60 minutes a few times a week. But I am totally good with this happening 2x a week for the minimum, though I prefer it to be more like 5x a week. If it's 2x, I am good, I am still on my plan.
This is all about tempering expectations to reality so that I am always able to succeed. If I set up a hard-line plan for my food or my training, then if I miss a session/eat something that isn't on my plan, there is a tendency to say 'I fucked up, so fuck it, I'll get back on it whenever x_____ (whatever I have decided is the cause the derailment) is done', which may or may not ever happen!
The other thing is about understanding what I am doing in each case: why am I eating using the Ketogains macros? Why do I not eat wheat? Why do I do rows and pushups and kettlebell swings? Why do I crawl on the floor doing animal movements? Why do I walk/run/ride the bike? Knowing this, which is about what is the specific benefit of each piece TO ME + my enjoyment factor (and fuck anyone else in this context, this has to be personal) allows me to prioritize all of it, and more importantly keeps it clear to me that I DECIDED to do these things in this way for my own specific reasons. Which means there is nothing to avoid. There is no 'hardship' to any of it. This is what I decided to do, and so, I will continue to do it this way until my reasons change, I achieve my goals, or I decide to focus on something different.
As always, everything being everything, this can tie into magic and the related sacred arts. How much meditation do you want or need to do? With your life as it really is, how much can you really commit to? What are the options you will allow yourself for when things come up? How many spirits/deities can you really make offerings to? Who do you really work with the most? Does it make more sense to do certain things daily for a few minutes, weekly for half an hour, or is it best to load up one big day a lunar cycle with a lot of stuff? How much is enough? What's the minimum effective dose? What gives you the best balance of pleasure, ease, and effect? Do you need the 2-hour group ritual once a month? How about daily general offerings? Weekly cleansing bath? If so, lock those down, make those the priority. Set up your plan for the minimum effective dose, so you can always do/get what YOU need. Then put in place the optional others, or the explorative work, or straight up playtime, and know that those bits might get dropped, delayed, or shuffled around and that this is a feature of the plan, not the failure of the plan.
A lot of this is about not buying into the 'more is better' trap, and setting yourself up for always being successful. 100% compliance is just incredibly rare and difficult outside (and probably inside!) of monastic environments. But you can decide the how, why, and the nature of where you will go when things aren't perfect, or you are ravenously hungry, or you have a family emergency so that you are never truly straying from your intentions and decisions. This allows for the long-term building of momentum, and for me is the key to successful practice.
My blessings to you & yours, and great success on your path!