“Without commitment, you’ll never start. Without consistency, you’ll never finish.”
One of the major lessons I am currently learning is the important role consistency plays in the achievement of goals.
Consistency in daily living cannot be overemphasised as it is almost always related to success. The latter cannot exist without the former. Want to become good at a certain skill or master it? become consistent. Want to accomplish a set-out goal over time? Practice consistency. With enough consistency, over time, you become an expert in whatever skill you set out to master.
The same goes for the achievement of goals and life generally. Consistency is a great characteristic to build and implement in one’s life. However, I will be the first to admit that being consistent every single day is easier said than done! One of the major struggles with consistency is getting things done all the time especially when you do not feel like it. Because, let’s be honest, who is super pumped to get things done ALL the time?
For the longest time, I battled with inconsistency and consciously (or maybe not so consciously) I kept experimenting with different techniques to help me overcome inconsistency. However, most of my “techniques” failed as I could not even be consistent in practicing the techniques. I found myself being very hot and excited one minute about some goals then super cold and uninterested the next.
You may have tried countless times to stay focused and consistent in certain aspects of your life but have found yourself throwing in the towel and diagnosing yourself with a steady lack of consistency which seems incurable.
HOWEVERRRRR… I am here to let you know that you CAN become more consistent! With continuous practice and determination, you can become consistently consistent at whatever goals you currently aspire to achieve. Some useful tips which I started implementing that are working for me so far include:
Make a conscious decision to be consistent
The first step to being consistent is seemingly the simplest yet the most difficult to follow through on. All you need to do is DECIDE. Make a conscious decision that you are going to be consistent in whatever area of your life that requires consistency. You may be reading this and subconsciously recollecting the number of times you have decided or promised yourself that you will be consistent on an area you’re currently slacking on.
However, the work is not in the decision but in the follow through as we will see in the next few steps, but you have to decide; put your foot down. To help with making the conscious decision, you can write it down, stick a little reminder on your mirror or talk to someone about this conscious decision you want to make and implement.
The truth is, making a decision to be consistent is like making a vow. There’s really no point in making it if you do not intend to follow through on it. So, before you make a hasty decision, seeing as it may appear simple to do, remember that you will be required to follow through to see results.
Create specific and realistic goals
The second thing you want to do to achieve a satisfactory level of consistency is to create specific and realistic goals. Now, I am not discouraging you from dreaming big or having goals that are seemingly “out of this world”. What I am simply saying is when you break those huge goals down, your sub-goals – as it were- should be specific and realistic. This would help you better outline practical solutions to being consistent.
For example, you have a goal to read a certain number of books in a year. You can start by breaking that goal down into sub-goals into the number of books you can read per month, then further down into the number of pages of a book you can read in a day. There’s really no point setting a goal to read 200 pages a day when you have not started reading 50 or even 20 pages in a day.
When you set unrealistic goals, you find that if you fail, you tend to give up your attempts at being consistent, get discouraged and feel like a failure in that aspect or just lose interest all together.
Have a to-do list/reminders
This is also another important practical tip to aid with being consistent. Many of us tend to prefer making “mental notes” of things rather than writing them down because, let’s just face it, it’s easier to say “oh I’ve made a mental note of this” But really, how many mental notes do we remember especially during the hustle and bustle of the day?
You may have a goal to improve your writing and have set a sub-goal to write for 30 minutes daily first thing in the morning, during your lunch break or when you come home from work. What you find is that if you do not have some sort of reminder that will repeatedly prompt you until you get it done, you will most likely not get it done.
Make a to-do list daily and keep reminders in strategic places in your home, office space, school or wherever you spend the most time. By doing this, you will be reminded of what needs to be done daily and what areas of your life you need to be consistent.
One way I am able to remind myself of goals or aspects of my life I want to be consistent in is by using a vision board and looking at it every day.
This is an important way to achieve consistency. I published a post on finding and maintaining the much- needed balance in life so other parts of your life can thrive while one part may not be doing well. You can check that out here.
By compartmentalising, you ensure that certain parts of your life do not interfere with others. You therefore maintain consistency in the aspects of your life that require it even though other aspect may not motivate you to be consistent. If you want to achieve consistence jogging every Saturday morning for example, you ensure you’re not out late on Friday partying or if you are, you beat yourself up and get up to jog no matter how Friday night went.
It is also very important to do one thing at a time and to understand that there is a place and time for everything. As tough as this may be to implement, it is very necessary for consistency.
Find a trusted person or partner with whom you can share your struggles with consistency and what aspects of your life require consistency. When you make a decision to be consistent either with punctuality or healthy eating or reading books or taking morning walks, whatever the goal may be, find someone who you can share these with who can ask you often how your journey is going.
Most importantly, be accountable to yourself. Accountability means you stay true to your word, that you can be counted on. You say what you’re going to do, and you do it, holding yourself answerable. Follow up on yourself to review how consistent you have been. This could be done on a daily or weekly basis.
Because consistency requires that you show up and show out every day, through the rosy days and through the stormy days alike. Consistency does not require that you give whatever goal you have set your A-game, 24/7, 365 days in a year. Consistency just requires that you show up in whatever way or form you can.
And so, you keep going because consistency develops routines and builds momentum. It forms habits that become almost second nature. You keep moving because as John Maxwell said: “Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.”.
I am learning that being consistent really is the difference between failure and success. The late Jim Rohn, entrepreneur and author, said: “Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.”
Make out what you may of that quote.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill