I’ve tried a lot of stuff but always failed after a week or so. I know you also tried waking up early at 5am, reading books everyday, working-out regularly and ended-up missing once then failing twice until one day you just stop doing it.
It feels somewhat impossible to be very consistent in whatever we wanted to achieve. This makes me wonder how professional athletes can practice tirelessly for several years (yeah not just a week or 1 month, for others they are doing it for more than 5 years or so).
It made me think why it is difficult for us normal people to be consistent in any endeavor that we wanted to achieve.
WHY CONSISTENCY IS IMPORTANT?
Consistency is the critical driver for success. Being consistent means dedicating yourself to your goals and staying focused on the things and activities to achieve your goals.
Consistency requires a long-term commitment from you and involves sustained effort in doing actions repeatedly until you achieve your goals. Discipline, accountability, and responsibility are all parts of staying consistent. Consistency can spell the difference between failure and success.
In addition, consistency keeps you moving towards your goals. Success is like a marathon and your consistency will keep you moving towards the finish line. No matter how slow you are if you keep moving forward you will sooner reach the end.
However, this is always contrary to what we do. We always stop and don’t want to take the painful process of moving towards the goal. We always have this stop-overs that we ended-up forgetting about moving forward and finishing the race.
COMMON PROBLEMS WE ENCOUNTER
1. You don’t have a specific plan
The common thing for everyone who failed to be consistent is that they don’t have any plan. It is often vague and not specific, on how they are going to do what they wanted to do consistently. For example if you wanted to read some books regularly, you can only be consistent if you have a specific time and place where you wanted to read.
This is similar with creating a habit, you have to be very specific. The more specific you are the more it will be easier for your execute it.
In addition, you should try habit stacking for you easily create the trigger for your habit and be more consistent.
2. You are not committed
Sometimes we wanted to do something not because it matters to us but because it just looks cool or it is what the crowd is doing. When you are committed in something you will certainly do it and all those excuses will disappear. You don’t need any motivation or willpower to do it. Your commitment will be the reason why you have to do it.
The lack of commitment just means that you don’t want it badly. That’s the worst place to be at, when we are at a situation that we wanted to change but it wasn’t that bad so we just decided to stay.
Commitment means you don’t need any excuse or motivation to take action. The lack of commitment will just simply feed your mind with excuses that pulls you from being consistent.
3. Wrong environment
It is always a lot easier to do something when your environment permits you to do it. It will be difficult for you to have the habit of reading a book when all your books are hidden inside the cabinet. It will also be impossible to do it if your place has a lot of distractions.
This is one of the reason why it is always difficult for us to consistently do something. It is mainly due to your environment not being primed for the actions you wanted to take.
4. You are just focusing on the outcome
In this generation that with just one click you can already know the answer, we are pre-programmed for quick outcomes and results. The truth is consistency is always about long-term, it will take some time in order for someone to be consistent on what they wanted to do. The key here is not to focus on the outcome but with the process.
The more you focus on the outcome that more you will feel overwhelmed which hinders you from taking action and also from being consistent.
5. Focusing on intensity
One of the most common thing that we often neglect, whenever we wanted to be consistent we always start with too much intensity. Remember your first day of diet that you went all out and starve yourself to death. Only to find out that after a week you have already given up.
We always thing that intensity means we are making progress, but the truth is that intensity does not matter if you are just starting. When you are just starting the goal is not the intensity but the consistency, you just need to show-up and slowly build the habit of doing it, and that’s the time that you can slowly build up the intensity.
HOW TO BECOME MORE CONSISTENT
1. Accountability partner
We are more likely to do something when there is someone whom we are accountable with. Imagine if you committed something to your boss, you will certainly do as much as you can to do it. You don’t want to look like a fool saying something without doing it.
The more you are committed to someone, that more likely you will take action. This will help you a lot in terms of your consistency. It would be beneficial if this someone is a stranger to you. That’s why we often hear about different coaches (life coach, performance coach, finance, trainer, etc.)
Although most of them are being hired by you because of their professional skills, the fact that they are someone whom you are committed to, makes it more like an accountability partner.
2. Know your why
If you don’t know your “why”, you won’t be bale to fully commit into something. Your brain will create all the excuses and stories whenever you feel not doing it.
Sometimes we don’t lack the motivation, we just lack clarity on our “Why”. We don’t have the burning desire to do it. Can you imagine how olympic athletes train for so many years to get gold medal? That’s the unwavering commitment towards something. They clearly know why they have to wake up each day and practice for so many years to achieve their goal.
If you clearly know your “why”, you don’t need any motivation or accountability partner. Your “why” is your never ending reason to wake-up each morning, ready to take action.
3. Make it specific and plan for it
You have to be specific on what action you wanted to do. Ambiguity is the enemy of productivity, the more vague something is that more you’re likely you will not do it. You have to make a plan as to the following:
1)When are you going to do it? Pick a specific time
2)Where are you going to do it? Pick a place.
3) How are you going to do it? State the specific action you wanted to do.
I will read 10 pages of my book before I sleep (around 10PM) at my study area.
This forces you to take action since it precise. You can also do habit stacking if you wanted other ways of building your habit and making it consistent.
4. Never rely on your motivation
Never every rely on your motivation, whenever you feel not doing it just do it for 5 minutes (you will be surprise how easier it is to continue as compared to when you are just starting). Don’t focus too much on the outcome but on the actions. Consistency mean progress, you just have to show-up no matter what, specially when you feel not doing it.
Your motivation is a product of your actions rather than the other way around. Relying on your emotions (whether you want to do it or not) will certainly lead you nowhere.
Whatever you wanted to achieve it can be attain by being consistent. You have to understand that consistency takes time and it is also a skill that you have to build. The more you show-up the more you can be consistent.
Understand that you are in a marathon, that each time you take an action you are making progress no matter how trivial it may seem. Focus first in doing it consistently and one you day you will look back and thank yourself that you never stopped.