It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently. – Anthony Robbins
It is often said that knowledge is power, but knowledge is only powerful when it’s consistently applied. Consistency may be the most important component of success. A small step forward each day adds up to a lot of mileage over time. It is important to ask ourselves each day whether the little things we do are adding up to something positive and fulfilling; or are we wasting our energy being unproductive? Our ability to be consistent in our pursuit of our life’s goals will determine if we end successful or not.
Being consistent is not always easy, hence the reason so many persons struggle with it. I would like to posit some suggestions on how you can be consistent in your daily life:
1. Commit IF You REALLY Want To Do It:
The most important thing before committing to anything is to ask yourself if you really want to do it. Often people commit to things in the heat of the moment, and their decision to commit is based on the face value of things. They don’t take time to think it through and that is why they don’t realize what it really takes to commit to achieving the results.
Before committing to anything important, think the following questions through:
• Are you really willing to face the challenges that’ll come along the way?
• Are you willing to go through the learning curve and develop all the necessary skills that you might need along the way?
• Are you willing to take time out for this even if it means making some sacrifices on other things?
Most importantly, do you really want this? Or are you doing this just in the heat of the moment? What is your real WHY behind wanting this? Be honest with yourself.
2. Focus On one main thing at a Time:
Pick one thing and stick to it until it sticks to you. If it’s a good habit you want to develop, stick to developing One habit at a time, don’t try to make more habits until the first one has become a part of you.
If it’s a skill you’re working on, focus on that ONE skill and master it. If it’s a start-up business, don’t chase other ideas until you’ve made enough effort and progress on the first one. Once it’s set and working like a well-oiled machine, then you can move on to other ideas if you want. In short, don’t bite off more than you can chew.
3. Don’t Complicate. Make it Simple and SUSTAINABLE:
A lot of people when starting off in something get into too much fuss and tiny details. They make it way more complex than it should be. Remember, the key to Sustainability is Simplicity.
If you get into too much detail in the beginning, trying to make everything perfect, and fretting over tiny details, it will be difficult for you to last long, after the initial excitement fades off. Let’s be real, life will hit you with it’s up and downs along the way, and if you’ve made things too difficult and complicated for yourself, it would be much harder for you to carry on in the rough patches.
4. Choose EFFICIENCY Over CREATIVITY (where needed):
Creativity is certainly a must and has its own place. But sometimes, unnecessary creativity can affect the efficiency and flow of things, making it difficult to sustain in the long run.
Don’t waste your creative efforts on petty things especially as you are starting off. Choose flow and efficiency in routine tasks so that you don’t have to waste your mental energy on the small stuff.
Reserve your mental energy and creativity for things that really matter in terms of your progress.
5. Set Realistic Goals and Expectations:
Many people, after seeing other people’s overnight success stories, expect results too early. They overestimate what they can achieve in 6-12 months. Things take time to develop. The success stories we hear of people who blew-up overnight are exceptional cases, not a norm. Aim the highest, but set realistic goals and expectations.
6. Pace Yourself to Avoid Burnouts:
The initial hype of things can make us work too hard to the point of burnout. It’s wise to see this beforehand and avoid it. Work hard, but remember to pace yourself and take some time to breathe, enjoy and relax along the way. Switch things up a little up to refresh your mind and spirits. Take the example of a marathon runner and a sprinter.
A sprinter can run super-fast, but for just a few minutes. While the marathon runner paces himself to avoid exhaustion and is able to run for hours and hours while having a good time along the way.
“You throw a bucket of water on a rock and it doesn’t do anything. You let a drop of water fall onto a rock everyday and it creates a hole in that rock.”– Unknown
7. Value PROGRESS over PERFECTION:
I tend to believe that perfection is an elusive concept; it is something we may work at for years and may never achieve it due to it subjective nature. When we start out on something enthusiastically, our inner perfectionist and critic tend to come out and pinpoint all the flaws and errors. All we need to do in this case is to just tell that inner perfectionist and critic step back and allow your excellence to shine through; be happy in doing your best.
Things don’t always have to go smoothly and go the way we expect. It’s okay to make mistakes. Also, the “All or Nothing” mindset is very unproductive and inefficient. We cannot always give our best all the time. Sometimes we have to perform on an average level to be able to maintain consistency, just don’t make it a habit.
8. Learn To Say NO:
Learning to say NO is an essential part of being consistent. Prioritize and don’t let any distractions drag you away from your priority tasks. If you made a commitment to a certain thing, keep it high on your priority list and say No to anything that might get in the way.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
Always remember; sometimes life can get in the way no matter how hard we try to commit, and that is totally natural. The thing that determines your consistency is Not how perfectly you follow through, but how fast you come back to your commitment if you get off track.