Consistency is the ability to repeat an action over time. It is one of the most difficult attitude to maintain and demand a lot of will-power from many of us. I struggle with that too. Plus, I still did not find a definite solution to it but I keep trying. I wanted to share my thought on being consistent with you.
It is not only about motivation
Many personal development authors say that it takes 3 weeks or 21 days for a person to make a habit of a particular behavior or action. At first, when you decide to change one of your old ways you are motivated and excited about it. So at the beginning the motivation isn’t the issue. It is indeed what push you to start the process. This means that your motivation alone will not be enough to help you go through these 3 weeks and still remain consistent on the long run. There are more factors at stake that you did not think about.
For instance, did you adjust your schedule accordingly to enable you to easily repeat this behavior? Did you make an effort to completely stop your old habit before or did you just jump right into it? There are many things you need to consider to help you remain consistent. The worst feeling is when you know that you took the right decision and yet did not seem to really implement it. In the end, it just adds up to the list all the underachieve projects and ideas that you once had.
It is about being clear with what you want too
Indeed, you do not only need to be motivated you need to know what you want and why you are doing it for. Is it to improve a specific skill? Or to be healthier? To be richer? To be happier? You need to dive deep down in what this new habit will mean to you and your life. Think about the changes it will bring and why is it so important to you. This should not only be an impulsive choice or a kind of trend that you are following. You should do it for the right reasons. As an example, it is way easier to change your diet when you know that you have to do it for your own good. Without health you can’t achieve whatever goals you have in life. It is a prerequisite that you have to work on first.
Be very specific
Consistency is an art by itself. You can’t improvise it. That is the reason why you need to be very specific not only about what you want but also on how you intend to obtain it. Therefore, you need to know when, how and where you will work on this new habit. If we take the example of implementing a healthier diet, you will have to set your goals. For example : “I will eat 1 vegetable and 1 fruit a day”, “I will do meal prep every Sunday afternoons”, “I will take the stairs and walk on my way to work every time it is possible” and so on. You have to get specific about numbers and time. Thinking about the location and your environment is key too: if you can’t implement this habit at home find a place that suits you better. Avoid the temptation to procrastinate by making it clear and easily repeatable for you.
It will never be perfect
You probably have an end goal and it is a good thing to keep it in mind. Nonetheless, it can prevent you from being consistent when you do not see the results you want right away. So instead of thinking about the end try to find enjoyment in the process by rewarding yourself among others. Also, acknowledge the fact that you are trying your best and that even if you are not always aware of it, your life is already changing because you are. Besides, you being appreciative of what you already have makes it more comfortable and doable for you.
Don’t forget that you are not perfect so it is okay to slip-up sometimes. But, when it occurs do not beat yourself up and throw away all the effort you made. Get back at it the next day and do not find other excuses. Consistency is like a curve over time that has ups and downs but when you look at the general trend it looks like a straight line getting higher and higher. That is what you should focus on: the overall trend that should be a positive one. One small mistake can’t ruin everything since you are doing it to improve your life and not only a fixed moment in time.