This blog post is laced with irony.
Sprinkled with, covered by and filled to the brim.
If you have read this blog (or attempted to) for any length of time you would have noticed my complete and utter lack of consistency. This, unfortunately, extends further than the blog but to my actual writing as well. I can keep up a pattern for one or two weeks maximum before I start to slack off and completely stop.
I have been thinking of this more and more since I started reading ‘The Compound Effect’ by Darren Hardy. The premise of the book is straightforward, profound and painfully accurate: the snowball effect of simple actions repeated in a consistent manner is the determining factor of failure or success. I do not believe I am alone in struggling to maintain consistency.
The more I think about it, the clearer it becomes that consistency is literally the key to achievement. What is the key to success in weight loss? Eating right each day and exercising several times per week every week. What is the key to academic success? Assimilating and reviewing information according to a schedule. There is a pattern here. The hardest part of my writing life is maintaining a consistent writing, editing and blogging schedule. I can point to several factors: my job is quite demanding, my puppies are very spoiled, waking up really early is hard, Netflix is really enticing and my Muse, to put it lightly, is a brat. However, the truth is that though all of these things make consistency hard, they do not make it impossible.
Here are a few tips to build consistency. Hopefully, these are useful to anyone finding that inconsistency is preventing them from living their best life.
1. Self Discipline
Waiting until you are motivated is a killer. If we only work when we feel motivated to, we will work haphazardly at best. It is necessary to do the thing you need to do even if you do not feel like it. It helps to keep your goals in mind.
Never, ever forget why it is important to keep going.
2. Set Achievable Goals
It is important to make sure your goals don't wear you thin. If the consistent routine you are trying to maintain is running on the treadmill for a full hour when you’ve never run before, you are likely to quit. Figure out what you can do comfortably and start there.
Check out my blog post on the second step to failure if you are interested in considering this in depth.
3. Build Momentum
Take baby steps. Sometimes in order to get to a consistent pattern with the routine that you want you must first create a preliminary routine. It might be necessary to ride with training wheels before you take them off and speed into the wind. I would recommend that you look at your ultimate goal and set a routine that will assist in achieving that goal. Then, make that routine thirty to sixty-percent easier and follow that for several weeks before graduating.
4. Be gentle with yourself
You will not get it right each time. It is important to not be to hard on yourself if sometimes you slip up. Instead of negative self-talk, it is important to just jump right back into things. Use it as encouragement and incentive to keep going instead of as a reason to spiral and let things get out of control. The great thing about dream chasing is that each morning is a new opportunity to try new tactics to get things right. What are the tools in your toolbox to ensure consistency? I would love to hear. Heaven knows, I need all the help I can get!
Happy dream chasing!