Every single one of us has the potential to be so much more than we are, and throughout our lives, we stumble upon so many amazing ideas and take great initiatives for our growth and well-being, and we also go to great lengths to get started and get things going.
But after the initial hype settles down, we often find it difficult to be consistent and stay in the flow. Eventually, we end up quitting.
Let’s be real, consistency is a struggle for most people.
So many great ideas and initiatives just get buried in the ground forever. So many people who have the potential to achieve so much never make it, only because of the lack of consistency.
We often have so many positive intentions and thoughts, and we often know what we “should” do to increase the quality of our lives. If only we could consistently follow some of our life’s callings, our lives might transform beyond our imagination.
In this quick guide, we’ll look into 10 principles to be Consistent in anything you do.
Whether you’re seeking discipline and consistency in achieving your goals, being consistent in your start-up business, maintaining consistency in the habits that you want to develop, or you just want to be generally consistent in your life overall.
These 10 principles will help you be consistent in any area you seek to master and conquer.
I’m not going to preach to you the importance of planning, scheduling, and goal settings.
If you are reading this article, chances are that you already have some goals and are into goal-setting at some level…
…and you know that setting goals and making plans to achieve those goals isn’t the real deal at all.
The real deal is to follow through those plans and be consistent in your efforts.
My Personal Struggle With Being Consistent Earlier in Life
If you would’ve known me a few years ago, you would’ve found me to be the most inconsistent person ever! Whatever I would do, I would just quit after a few months.
I dropped out of many places and abandoned so many initiatives. I was so inconsistent that people used to call me out on that.
My family and friends “knew” that I would quit on whatever I took initiative towards, and that made me doubt own ability to be consistent.
I unconsciously accepted people’s image of me being inconsistent, and that majorly affected my self-image and self-esteem.
Eventually, I lost so much trust in myself that I became afraid to commit to anything since I doubted my ability to follow through.
It became a self-belief.
But over the years, as I keep searching for my true calling in life, I realized that I wasn’t actually inconsistent.
I was dropping out and abandoning stuff because that was NOT something I really wanted to do, and deep down I knew that.
Many of the initiatives I took were influenced by society and the people close to me, but those were not congruent with who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do deep inside.
Once I found my “true calling” and started to manifest the kind of life that I wanted to create all along, I became very committed and consistent, because what I am doing is consistent with my inner self.
This leads us to the very FIRST PRINCIPLE of being Consistent, and that is…
1. Commit IF You REALLY Want To Do It
The most important thing before committing to anything is to ask yourself if you really want to do it.
Often people commit to things in the heat of the moment, and their decision to commit is based on the face value of things. They don’t take time to think it through and that is why they don’t realize what it really takes to commit to achieving the results.
Before committing to anything important, think the following questions through:
- Are you really willing to face the challenges that’ll come along the way?
- Are you willing to go through the learning curve and develop all the necessary skills that you might need along the way?
- Are you willing to take time out for this even if it means making some sacrifices on other things?
- Most importantly, do you really want this? Or are you doing this just in the heat of the moment? What is your real WHY behind wanting this? Be honest with yourself.
2. Focus On ONE Main Thing At A Time
Pick one thing and stick to it until it sticks to you. If it’s a good habit you want to develop, stick to developing One habit, don’t try to make more habits until the first one has become a part of you.
If it’s a skill you’re working on, focus on that ONE skill and master it.
If it’s a start-up business, don’t chase other ideas until you’ve made enough effort and progress on the first one. Once it’s set and working like a well-oiled machine, then you can move on to other ideas if you want.
In short, don’t bite off more than you can chew.
3. Don’t Complicate. Make it Simple and SUSTAINABLE
A lot of people when starting off in something, get into too much fuss and tiny details. They make it way more complex than it should be.
Remember, the key to Sustainability is Simplicity.
If you get into too much detail in the beginning, trying to make everything perfect, and fretting over tiny details, it will be difficult for you to last long, after the initial hype fades off.
Let’s be real, life will hit you with it’s up and downs along the way, and if you’ve made things too difficult and complicated for yourself, it would be much harder for you to carry on in the rough patches.
Take a simple example, if you want to lose weight and get fitter, instead of going extremely scientific in the beginning while trying to find out the perfect workout and counting every single calorie in your diet plan, just put on your running shoes and go for a jog.
So many people are unable to carry out their health plan because their subconscious minds have associated so much hassle to exercising.
You can add the details and level things up as you progress. But first, just get in the habit of getting things going.
4. Choose EFFICIENCY Over CREATIVITY (where needed)
Now if you are my regular reader, you know that I’m about creativity and originality. Creativity – in the right place – is certainly a must and has its own place.
But sometimes, unnecessary creativity can affect the efficiency and flow of things, making it difficult to sustain in the long run.
Don’t waste your creative efforts in petty things especially as you are starting off. Choose flow and efficiency in routine tasks so that you don’t have to waste your mental energy on the small stuff.
Reserve your mental energy and creativity for things that really matter in terms of your progress.
A couple of examples would be:
If you have started exercising, instead of trying out new exercises every day and exhausting yourself over which ones are the best for you, just stick to the few basic, core exercises and be consistent with them.
Or if you’re starting off a start-up project, instead of putting all your creativity in making your office a perfect representation of your brand or making your website the most advanced and stylish website out there, focus more of your creative efforts on the products or services you’re going to offer.
That is what matters most in the long run. Just set up a simple office or website and get things going.
5. Avoid “Paralysis by Analysis”
With SO MUCH information out there, many of us get caught up with all the details and analytics. When you analyze things too much, especially when they are in their initial phases and not producing many results you’ll get fed up and eventually give up.
If you’ve just started working out and you see your progress every day in the mirror or on the weighing scale, you’ll get discouraged pretty soon.
If you have just started a business and you’re focusing too much on the sales analytics, you won’t see what you’re looking for.
Just seek enough information so you have a solid strategy and then focus all your energy on delivering. Don’t fret if you’re not getting results right away. Things take their time.
Stop analyzing too much. You’ll have more peace of mind and you’ll be able to focus on delivering your best which will eventually sky-rocket your progress in the long run.
Don’t buy into negative thoughts and doubts. There will be times when you might doubt yourself or the achievability of the task.
6. Set Realistic Goals And Expectations
“Most people Overestimate what they can do in a year, and Underestimate what they can do in a decade.”Anthony Robbins
Many people, after seeing other people’s overnight success stories, expect results too early. They overestimate what they can achieve in 6-12 months.
Things take time to develop. The success stories we hear of people who blew-up overnight are exceptional cases, not a norm.
Aim the highest, but set realistic goals and expectations.
Shoot for the stars, but expect to work hard for several years to build a rocket. Sow a seed today, but expect a fully developed tall, luscious tree in the next 10 years.
7. Pace Yourself To Avoid Burnouts
The initial hype of things can make us work too hard to the point of burnout. It’s wise to see this beforehand and avoid it.
Work hard, but remember to pace yourself and take some time to breathe, enjoy and relax along the way. Switch things up a little up to refresh your mind and spirits.
Take the example of a marathon runner and a sprinter.
A sprinter can run super-fast, but for just a few minutes. While the marathon runner paces himself to avoid exhaustion and is able to run for hours and hours while having a good time along the way.
“You throw a bucket of water on a rock and it doesn’t do anything.– Unknown
You let a drop of water fall onto a rock everyday and it creates a hole in that rock.”
Part of pacing yourself is to take a complete break and allow yourself opportunities to fully unwind relax. Heck even go to a mini vacation on a weekend.
You’ll find that once your return back to your work and normal routine life, you’ll feel so rejuvenated, refreshed, and ready to take on.
No matter how much your brain tries to convince you that you need to work all the time, you take a break knowing and trusting that this relaxing break is going to serve your work and progress in the long run.
8. Value PROGRESS Over PERFECTION
To attain perfection can take a LONG time IF there is such a thing as perfection in the human world.
When we start out on something enthusiastically, our inner perfectionist and critic tend to come out and pinpoint all the flaws and errors.
All we need to do in this case is to just tell that inner perfectionist and critic to SHUT UP AND SIT HIS BUM DOWN! 🙂
Things don’t always have to go smoothly and go the way we expect. It’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s not a big deal if we mess things up sometimes.
Also, the “All or Nothing” mindset is very unproductive and inefficient. We cannot always give our best all the time. Sometimes we have to perform on an average level to be able to maintain consistency, just don’t make it a habit.
9. Learn To Say NO
Learning to say NO is an essential part of being consistent. It’s very hard for a Yes-Man/Woman to be consistent at something because they are always occupied by things that are not necessary.
Prioritize and don’t let any distractions drag you away from your priority tasks. If you made a commitment to a certain thing, keep it high on your priority list and say No to anything that might get in the way.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Whether it be making promises to self or to other people.
I have written an entire guide on HOW TO SAY NO (and reclaim your time, energy, and personal space). You must check it as it’ll help you in prioritizing and hence being consistent at the thing that matters most to you.
10. Forgive Yourself For Not Being Consistent And Then Come Back To It
We are humans, we have our ups and downs. Nothing is 100% perfect. There will be times when you will lapse. Everyone does.
If you think that being consistent means to never falter ever again then you need to reshape your perception about consistency.
It’s good to be ambitious but going too hard on yourself will only make you feel disappointed in yourself and then you might give up. That is, in fact, counter-productive.
If you decided to go for a run daily for the next 30 days and you miss out on 6-7 days, that is okay. That does not mean that you’re inconsistent.
See the glass as half full. At least you managed to run for 23-24 days, that’s better than nothing.at all!
Sometimes life can get in the way no matter how hard we try to commit, and that is totally natural. The thing that determines your consistency is Not how perfectly you follow through, but how fast you come back to your commitment if you get off track.
Instead of beating yourself up, accept it and be forgiving towards yourself, and then get back to it!
BONUS TIP: Create a System and Automate Your Work
This one last bonus tip can save you months and much of the unnecessary hassle that could overwhelm you.
Whether you’re seeking consistency in your personal life or professional life, make it a point to set a specific system so that everything clicks, instead of you thinking about the order of thing or the tiny details every time you do something.
When you set a system, you don’t have to waste your mental energy thinking or worrying about everyday stuff.
Also, look towards automating as many things as you can through apps and online services.
We live in a privileged era where we have technology at our disposal. Use technology as your servant and delegate as much work to it as you can.
Automation will tremendously simplify your life, save your from being overwhelmed, and free up a lot of time which you can utilize in other important things.
If you’re a non-tech person and the concept of automation seem daunting to you to learn and use, I’m with you as I’m not a tech-savy guy myself, but believe me it’s not that daunting once you take the initiatve to use it.
Once you start using any automation app or service, you’ll get a hang of it in a couple of days and you’ll be so glad that you are utilizing it.
Whatever you want to be consistent with, analyze it under the light of these 10 principles and see where you’ve been missing out. Make it almost like a checklist.
You might want to bookmark this guide. Whenever you find it difficult to be consistent and following through on something you’ve planned, come back to this guide and just quickly skim through it. You might instantly catch why you’ve been struggling with your commitment and which area you must start focusing on more.
Talk to you soon!
An artist by nature, a writer by calling, a psychologist by passion. Someone who has dedicated his life to exploring deep human potentials, spirituality, and timeless wisdoms of life with a hunger to share those experiences and knowledge to help others find meaning and improve the quality of their lives.