Consistency. It's such a simple word. But so powerful at the same time. Consistency helps you to go after your dreams, achieve them, and come up with some more. Consistency is the secret sauce to so many successful happenings.
But how do you stay consistent in this world of constant distraction?
The answer is simple: you need to be relentlessly persistent with mastering your consistency.
Because let's be honest, you don't just wake up and start doing something consistently, day in and day out. Now, you are a human being. Human nature is ridden with weaknesses. We have ingrained habits that will hinder consistency no matter how much in love we are with our dream idea.
That is why it's vital to turn consistency into a daily sacred ritual that you follow rain or snow.
Table of contents for 12 tips on how to stay consistent
Choose one goal.
It's a marathon, not a sprint.
Schedule days off.
Do the most fun task first.
How do you learn consistency?
There are myriads of ways, but let me share with you here 12 tips that work for me. Not all the time. Not all 12 at one time. But when I have an option to pick tips from my secret toolbox, it helps to stay consistent.
So here they are, my 12 ideas on how to nurture a habit to be consistent.
1. Choose one goal (dream).
This is such a cliche tip, isn't it? But it's also a very valid cliche. When you have lots of ideas swarming in your head, you won't know what to concentrate on.
Deciding to prioritise one thing is a challenge. Only brave ones will master this one. Because what about all the other 300 great ideas that I have?! But unless you are serious about succeeding and staying consistent with your dreams, you need to learn to slay all those other great ideas.
I would recommend the book The ONE Thing, as that's exactly what it teaches you to do - concentrate on one thing only.
2. It's a marathon, not a sprint.
Another cliche, I am afraid. But you won't master your consistency without realising this simple truth. If you throw all you've got into this thing today, the chances are you will burn out. If you don't, you will still become too overwhelmed to continue with your dream. Because dreams are needy little suckers.
Remember that you are here for the long haul and preserve your energy as much as you can.
3. Celebrate failures.
Scary thought, right? Celebrating failures might sound like a recipe for disaster. But the thing is, you never know what failure is a failure and what a different way of looking at things. If you choose to celebrate failure, you might one day come up with new post-it notes. Well, not exactly, but something similar.
So how do you do it? Capture all your unsuccessful attempts at achieving your goals. Then Choose one day a month and go through all of them. You'd be surprised how much inspiration you might gather from those failures.
4. Close your eyes and do it, anyway.
This silly tip might one day save your life. Not literally. But there will be days when you cannot be bothered to stay consistent. Or days when you are ready to give up. Instead of throwing the towel, choose any small task that needs doing and do it. Even if you spend 5 minutes out of 20 allocated, it does not matter. You are still being consistent. And tomorrow will be a new day when you will do more than your allotted time.
So don't give up. Persevere even if you have days or weeks when you don't feel motivated. You will thank yourself for sticking with it when this sad chapter passes. Because you will still have mastered a consistent habit.
5. You are what you do.
Remember this one as if it's a mantra or an affirmation.
Once you create a consistent habit, it will become so much easier to stick with it. And a few weeks or months down the line, you will not even need a reminder to do it. It will become your second nature. It will become who you are.
6. Talk to your emotions.
There will be days when your emotions are on a mission to take over the world. Sit down and talk to them. Find out what's bothering them. Are they all over the place? Are they worried about something? Success? Failure? What is it?
It might be an idea to read children's books on emotions to go to basics. Books such as The Color Monster or The Worrysaurus might help to switch your perspective. Instead of worrying, you might start celebrating.
7. Remember the 'why'.
Quite often, when we embark on a quest to reach for the start (or goals), we get so caught up with the daily grind that we forget why we are doing it. It's so vital to keep that North Star in front of our mind's eye. The minute we get overwhelmed, upset, worried or frustrated - we need to remind ourselves of our ultimate goal.
8. Be realistic.
Setting yourself a meaty, challenging goal is a good idea. But make sure you don't go overboard. Goals that are unrealistic or too hard to achieve will very soon deflate your motivation. It will lose air just like a balloon does. We don't want that. What we need is a line of realistic and achievable goals and tasks. Tasks that will keep us inspired and motivated. Tasks that will help us jump out of bed in the morning. Not those that feel so heavy on our chest that we want to drop it and never to return to it again.
9. Find friends.
Consistency loves friends. Consistency loves accountability. It is a good idea to find someone somewhere to who you could be accountable. It could be a real friend, an online acquaintance or an app or any other gadget.
10. Schedule days off.
Consistency is a good thing. But life does happen. You might have the best intentions in the world to stick to your action plan. But never underestimate the power of the unexpected. If you are not prepared for it, it will sweep you off your feet. Instead, be prepared and plan a few days in a week where you might not stick to your timetable. It's ok to miss a day or two, especially if you have planned for it. Do you need to do more on other days? If you feel like it. But the trick here is to allow yourself an occasional 'ice cream and sofa date' day. If you are not too critical about those days, they will not leave any long-lasting damage. However, if you don't plan for those days - and they will happen - the chances are you might get too discouraged with your weakness.
11. Do the most fun task first.
We all like rewards. They leave this sweet tingling sensation in our bodies. It feels good when happy things flood our system. On the days when you don't feel like it and on the days when you feel like it - do the most enjoyable task first. Why not reward yourself just because you can?! So go ahead and do it. It will boost your thrive towards being consistent with your goal-reaching habits. And you will feel good along the way.
12. Enjoy the process.
Remember this being a marathon, not a sprint? Well, it is. That's why you always need to remember to enjoy the process as much as you can. If it becomes a drag and a chore - you are not going after your dream. You are fulfilling someone else's. Trust me. It's that simple. You need to be enjoying even the most difficult days. Not all the time. But if you are asked to grade your level of happiness on a 1 to 10 scale, you need to consistently come above 7. Because if not - drop this dream and find another one. You won't learn to be consistent if you are hurting yourself.