“Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.”- John Maxwell
It’s the only thing that does matter… In order to accomplish anything great and worthwhile, it will usually require consistency of effort over a long period of time.
Here are some concrete examples to indicate the importance and vitality of consistency:
- Running a marathon: It does require several months of intense and dedicated training.
- Paying off a house: It takes years of consistent, and more so, intentional focus to accomplish this major financial goal.
- Education at its best: It takes about thirteen years of consistent performance to obtain a high school diploma. Then four years of effort to earn a bachelor’s degree and more for a professional graduate degree.
- Raising a great child: We are well aware of the need for consistency and its major role in raising a great child!
- Losing weight: Anyone who has ever faced the challenge of losing weight and succeeded clearly understands the power of consistency in maintaining a good diet and regular exercise.
- Building up a business: That is rarely done overnight. It takes years of hard work to become a success after all.
Consistency: The Key to Success Very Few Talk About…
So, have you ever wondered how some people are able to achieve massive amounts of success in their field of endeavor, while others work just as hard but achieve so very little?
It can be said that those who achieve high levels of success are simply more intelligent, or maybe more ambitious, or maybe more persistent, or possibly just got plain luckier than the people in the second group who are not that successful. These are definitely all key factors that certainly can help people achieve their goals. However, it is better to make a note that there is just that one more ingredient that goes into success that is more important than anything else!
That crucial ingredient comes in the sole form of consistency. It is critical to note that to be consistent means to fully dedicate yourself to a task, an activity or a goal. It also means to be fully engaged without distraction. To be consistent requires a tremendous commitment on your part. It does require that you commit yourself to a sustained effort of action over the long-term. What this categorically implies is that you keep your word to yourself and others, that you will follow through with what you set out to do consistently over a period of time up until the moment your objectives are achieved. This makes consistency all about your innate ability to be dependable, reliable and responsible for all your choices, decisions and actions.
Consistency proceeds to build up on the small empowering habits and even rituals that you partake in every single day that keep you focused on your highest prioritiess. It then comes down to your ability to hold yourself accountable for the daily choices you make with no excuses, more so no complaints. It is because it is you and you alone who is totally accountable for what you do and what you fail to do. All the responsibility lies solely in your very hands.
To be consistent means to thoroughly focus on the present moment while maintaining a long-term view that helps you measure your results and the impact of your daily actions. With this regular feedback, you are better able to learn from your failures and mistakes to help you effectively alter your course of action wherever required.
This makes consistency all about repetition. It is all about repeating the same actions (habits and rituals) over and over again; gaining the complete feedback from these actions and then adjusting them accordingly to help you stay on track as you go on to work towards your ultimate goal. That, in every essence, is the final difference between success and failure in any field of endeavor and towards the key to attaining high levels of achievement.
Why Do People Struggle with Consistency?
The irony is that even though the concept of staying consistent is very simple on the surface, most people do struggle with this very idea. They go on to find it difficult to stay consistent because there are just too many distractions. It is also because people are not focused, committed or disciplined enough to go along with something that is short-term in order to acquire long-term results.
People do not seek consistency as they do not get immediate results from their ongoing actions, so they do not see the point of continuing with those actions over the long-haul. However, the habit of consistency is not about obtaining quick results. It is rather about making incremental progress and improvements over an extended period of time.
This can be explained further: consider for a moment a skill that you have developed over the years. Maybe you are a good singer or a guitar player. Maybe you are a great dancer or can even speak a foreign language very well. No matter what skill you wanted to develop, you went on to develop this skill over many weeks, months and even years. You also developed it because you applied yourself consistently towards learning that particular skill fully.
You are already applying consistency in action. Please note there are no quick results when it comes to a commitment towards consistency. Consistency is rather about making incremental improvements over an extended period of time. The results you are seeking will eventually come, however they will only come over an extended period of time when you are ready to commit yourself to the process of consistency-in-action.
Now if for any reason you feel that this is something that is totally difficult to do, then do consider for a moment all the poor and deficient habits that people develop over time.
For example, overeating just a little each day over the course of many years can lead to major health concerns, obesity and even mobility issues. Regular snacking will not make much of a difference tomorrow or even next week or for that matter even next month. However, over the course of several years, overeating a little each day makes a significantly noticeable difference; for that is when you start seeing the results from your consistent daily actions and therein lies the hard-core power of consistency.
What does Consistency Demand of You?
Please understand that on the surface staying consistent seems to be quite straightforward. It is all about repetition. It is critical to note that on the superficial level, most people are quite aware of the value of repetition. That is because repeating something over and over again does form the very foundation of any skill that we are wanting to learn. What is not quite clear to most is what repetition (consistency) demands from each individual. Consistency-in-action is not purely about repetition. It is rather all about evolution.
Please note consistency is not about mindlessly repeating an action over and over again. It is all about learning, growing and adapting your actions that can help lead towards incremental improvements over an extended period of time.
Consistency in the form of action is all about gaining greater insights and more so understanding about what it is that you are doing, and subsequently making the necessary adjustments to these actions in order to help improve your results and performance over the long-haul. In other words, it is all about improving your effectiveness and efficiency at each step of your on-going journey. Therefore, consistency does demand that you stay vigilant and focused on making incremental improvements and not just about sticking with the status quo.
To be consistent means having the critical understanding that the greatest power lies in the present moment. Consistency demands that you stay vigilant, sharp- eyed, mindful and present on the task at hand without losing any focus. It demands that you are best able to discipline yourself to this moment, and only up to this moment without any exception.
Consistency Requires Some Planning
The key focus is to maintain Consistency through Planning.
In order to maintain consistency over time you do need to plan ahead. However, this is not so much about planning as it is rather all about forward thinking. You must think way ahead in order to make room for the consistent actions you will go on to take.
Consistency-in-action does demand that you first get very clear about what your highest priority activities are.
These activities are specifically built around your core values, passions, purpose and goals. If for any reason your priorities are not particularly aligned with these areas then you will be likely to struggle towards maintaining consistency over the long-haul.
Go on to ask yourself some questions such as: What are my highest priorities?
How are these priorities aligned with my values, passions, purpose and goals?
Once you are very clear about the priorities you need to focus on, it is time to develop a schedule that will help you to block out a specific time throughout the day that you will spend working on all these highest priority activities. This makes Consistency such an Important Habit.
Reasons Why Consistency is an Important Habit
Here are some benefits or reasons on why consistency is an important habit to have. Knowing these reasons can be the motivation you need to give more attention to it.
It develops discipline and more so self-control.
Forming a new habit can be challenging because it is easier to go back to what we are comfortable with. Our ability to be consistent requires self-control, which means we do not allow ourselves to get off track. This will help us develop the discipline required to keep on going.
It does build a higher level of trust.
The level of trust we have with ourselves shows up in the level of trust others have with us. Being consistent will help build up the momentum. This means we will also feel good about what we are working towards. It can fast track your improvement or development in any area. Consistency will lead to progress, which can speed up the accomplishment of what we want. This will build our self-confidence, which will help us set bigger and more challenging goals.
It will create accountability.
Our results will reveal if we are consistent or not. If we know we are not on track, we can hold ourselves accountable. This means we can adjust our actions or our behaviors and keep progressing towards what we want.
It will help you stand out and be noticed.
Small actions carried out repeatedly will amount to big results over time. When we do something for a long period of time, we will differentiate ourselves from those who are not consistent. This can help us attract new opportunities that may not have been possible if we had not been consistent.
Ways to Rethink Consistency
Developing consistency does not need to be difficult.
Here are a few things to consider so we can view consistency differently.
Start with small steps.
We do not have to make drastic changes in a short period if we do not need to. We can build towards something big by starting off with small steps. Create a schedule or plan to stay on track. If we do not measure our progress, it is difficult to stay consistent.
Make better use of idle or free time.
We all have the same amount of time every day. Learning to use our free time wisely can help us stay consistent. Give yourself a break when you get off track. It is inevitable we will get distracted and lose focus on what we are trying to accomplish. Rather than beating ourselves up about it, we have to learn from our mistakes and recommit to doing what is required.
We can then accomplish anything we want in life if we have the right strategies and take the right actions consistently. When we use consistency to our advantage, it will show up in how we feel and the results we create. If we do not develop consistency, the chances of achieving what we want, when we want,are very small.
Critical Action Step: Choose a goal or something you want to accomplish. Identify one action that is required to achieve it. Create a plan to track that action for at least 60 days or until it becomes a habit.
“Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.”- John Maxwell