Ah, consistency. It’s a skill we all want but one many of us struggle with.
Every year we all make new resolutions, but do we find ourselves sticking to them? Not really. Why? Because we lack consistency. The only thing we are consistent with is stopping and starting. Sound familiar?
Being consistent is essential if we want to make significant changes in our life.
And the good news is, we can develop the skill of consistency. We can train ourselves to show up, and once we do, we’ll be able to achieve so much more value and meaning in our life.
One reason as to why we struggle to be consistent?
We're focusing on the outcome rather than the process.
The key to consistency is setting and achieving specific goals. We need to begin by determining how we want to be more consistent, and aim for these small goals. As we do begin to become more consistent, we then need to keep ourselves motivated and accountable.
It usually takes at least 3 weeks of consistency doing something to make a new habit. So give yourself time to see changes and be realistic with what you can expect to see over time.
Here are some tips on how to create consistency in your life:
- Create specific goals that are realistic
It’s difficult to be consistent if you don’t have a solid idea of what you need to do. A useful way of making goals more powerful is to make them specific and achievable.
Start by defining what consistency means to you - do you need to be more consistent in your exercise regime? Are you aiming for higher quality work? Or do you want to be more reliable in your relationships?
Once you’ve identified your end goal (and wrote it down to easily refer back to), determine small steps to help you reach it. For example, if you want to be more consistent with fitness, you may set a goal to exercise for 5 days a week.
- Create a schedule
Having a schedule will help you plan your day and help you understand what commitments you do and do not have time for. Whether you use pen and paper, a scheduling app, or a calendar on your phone, block off realistic amounts of time for tasks and don’t forget to schedule breaks.
- Remind yourself of your goals
Place reminders around your home or workspace to keep reminding you of your goal and sticking to your schedule. Set reminders on your phone to bring your goal to your attention at least three times a day.
- Learn to say ‘no’
Consistency involves making commitments and sticking to them so only make promises if you can keep them. If you think a request may be too difficult or you don’t have the time, it’s ok to say ‘no’. This includes making promises to yourself.
- Set boundaries
Boundaries make it easier to stay consistent because you have a specific limit in which to function. Establish what you are willing and able to do as well as what you know you realistically can’t do. For example, you might establish that you won’t take phone calls during a family dinner, so you tell your boss, co-workers, or friends that this time is off limits.
- Reward yourself
Even small goals deserve small rewards to help keep you motivated through the process. Celebrate your commitment and the achievements you’ve made. For example, if you’ve improved a relationship by being more consistent, why not celebrate with a night out or dinner.
How to maintain consistency:
- Keep going even if you make a mistake
- We all slip up sometimes and it’s ok. Encourage yourself to get up and start again.
- Recharge and enjoy your ‘you’ time
- Consistency doesn’t mean you’re working all the time. You need to implement self-care daily to ensure you don’t burn out and can continue to be your most productive self.
- Hold yourself accountable
- To be consistent you have to make sure you recognise when you don’t reach the standards and goals you’ve set. If this happens, ask yourself if your goals are realistic or ask yourself what you can do to improve.
- Eliminate negative thinking
- What you say to yourself is important. Negative thoughts are the bane of consistency and willpower. When you think negatively you are making yourself less likely to be able to hold to your consistent actions. Whenever you begin to have a negative thought, try turning it around into a more positive one - for example, instead of thinking "I can’t do this”, turn it around and think “I’m going to be proactive doing this, even if I’m not great at it to start with”.
Are you ready to be more consistent? Share with me your goal below.