For some days the issue of consistency came over and over into my life, so I thought it would be better to talk about it.
Every day we wake up; wash our face and brush our teeth; get dressed; go to work; prepare breakfast; take the kids to school; take the dog for a walk; prepare lunch and dinner; do grocery shopping; lay on the sofa; watch TV; go to bed … and for sure I forgot something. This is consistency. I can tell you none except yourself forces you to do these things. You could not wake up, not watch TV, not prepare breakfast …
One of the main differences between these activities and the ones you find so hard to be consistent at is that you’ve been doing these for years, you are used to them – so there’s a guarantee behind this: after a certain amount of time, every activity becomes a habit, it becomes automatic, and you don’t have to force yourself to do it anymore – good news, isn’t it?
The second difference lays in what goes on in our minds for certain activities. Going to bed or watching TV every day doesn’t imply any feeling of success or failure; you know how to do it, you do it and none judges you for that. On the other hand, when you think about going to the gym for example (but it works for everything else), your mind starts thinking “will I reach my goals?” or “I will be ashamed, I’m not fit and there will be many fit people there” or even “I’m taking up time from my family, better I give up”.
The very thought of being consistent in something different from everyday activities bears a sense of obligation and heaviness with it.
And it is crazy to think that – going back to our example – everybody knows how important it is to be fit, you are sure about its positive effects on your health and body, you know how well you will feel after having practiced it… nonetheless… you don’t do it.
The truth is, consistency has a major enemy within us: the fear of failure (that prevents us from taking even the first step), the fear of taking away time from other important activities, the fear of making mistakes and of being judged for the slightest mistake, just to name some.
It is crucial that you understand what your priorities are (see also my post on scheduling) and it is important that you keep in mind your “WHYs” when starting to think about being consistent: if this activity is on top of your priorities (or just below your family, it is enough to be a priority) and if your WHYs and the goals you want to achieve are positive, know that CONSISTENCY IS YOUR ONLY, REAL, MAJOR ALLY to reach your goals.
A little tip about it: find someone who shares your goals – in the example, that wants to go to the gym with you. At the beginning, it will be useful on both sides to avoid fears and excuses, and then when the first results will come … the both of you will be twice as happy! As time will go by, consistency will become part of you and you will do that activity even if you are alone, with no more excuses or fears.