See if this sounds familiar to you :
You have desired to have a healthier body, so you join a gym.
For the first ten days, with full motivation to meet your goal, you work on this every single day. But then you gradually start skipping days. A day, sometimes two, and the cycle begins. Before you realize, you’ve already given up on your desire.
“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.”Tony Robbins
I have consistently failed to write this article. Days after days, weeks after weeks and even months went by, I put it off.
I was interested to find out what may be the reason why we struggle with consistency or sticking with new habits. Let’s be honest. Many people struggle with consistency, including me. Our lack of consistency can be extremely frustrating. We know that consistency is key to progress in all areas of our lives, but somehow we fail to maintain it. I was, later, able to recognize that the biggest obstacle to consistency is procrastination.
As Steven Pressfield explains in his book, The War of Art, “The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit.”
But, as procrastination can become a habit, consistency can also be.
We intend to take several things in a day, forcing ourselves by saying intention is the fuel behind action. Intention alone can’t do anything if you are not motivated. Most of us often believe that intention is enough to achieve things that we want to. When we get too comfortable with “wanting too” and not “doing”, our sense of purpose depletes.
This what stalls us. Things change, our motivation drops, and we suddenly can’t commit to all of our goals on a regular basis. We start equating our intentions with actions.
That’s when we become okay with skipping a day or two, or seven, or thirty…and thus our consistency disappears.
The Reasons why we struggle with Consistency
We focus too much on the outcome rather than the process.
This doesn’t mean that outcome is not important, but if we become fixated on the outcome, it will work against us. Because any outcome won’t be achieved without hard work and sacrifice over a long period of time. Without certain processes, most of us won’t be able to maintain the effort required to accomplish their outcomes.
For example –
- A sportsperson works towards being a better athlete. Not just to win awards.
- A vocalist practice to become a better musician. Not just to achieve fame.
- A write focuses to become a better wordsmith. Not just to become a bestseller.
To achieve this –
- A sportsperson trains intensely every day.
- A vocalist rehearses for hours each day.
- A writer pumps out thousands of words each day.
These people work on who they want to be. Not just what they want to accomplish. They focus on action, without overthinking what they’re doing or why they’re doing it. They don’t get overwhelmed. They can focus on present moments without thinking too much about past events or pressure of future goals.
Focus on your process
- Identify your desired outcome (e.g. “I want to become fit”).
- Identify the big “why” behind this outcome (e.g. “To be in a good physical condition so that to live a better, healthy and happy life”).
- Set a goal which will gradually get you closer to your desired outcome (e.g. Lose 5kgs in 30 days).
- Develop a process by identifying “what” I should do to accomplish these goals (e.g. 1 km run 5 days a week).
Keep your mind on the fourth step, as it’s the deciding factor for you to maintain your consistency.
How can we do this?
First of all, commit yourself to the process you have identified for achieving your desired outcome no matter how you are feeling on any given day. Forgive yourself and move on.
A simple trick you can do with yourself. Once you decide to do something, just do it without thinking about their purpose. But how can we possibly do something without thinking about it, or why we are doing it?
Believe it or not, there’s actually a word for that: fun.
To be consistent, we have to find the fun. When we synchronize our goals with what we enjoy to do, there won’t be a reason why we can’t be consistent. We will automatically invest in who we are and who we wish to become.
Thanks so much for reading!