“I admire how consistent you are.”
That’s one of the best compliment I’ve ever received.
To me, being consistent is a super power and while I’ve written about the topic before (read here), I want to put a more practical spin on it this time. We live in a time where information is easy to get and implementation is harder than ever. Being consistent means showing up over and over and over again, even when it’s inconvenient, especially when it’s uncomfortable and regardless of whether or not anyone else will see it. In it’s simplest form, being consistent is about making a commitment and seeing it through – matching words with actions over a long period of time. It’s not a complicated concept, but it is challenging one and I hope this blog helps make it easier.
Be Intentional With Direction
It’s been said that we are what we repeatedly do and that couldn’t be more true. With that logic, our consistent actions determine who we become. In a literal sense, each decision that we make changes who we are and shapes the next decision before it happens. It’s been said that intention sets direction while discipline determines pace. In that equation, consistency keeps the car on course but it all begins with intention. Before you set out to be more consistent, take the time to get clear on what direction you want to move in and who you want to be.
Understand What’s Driving Your Desire
The most common reason that people struggle to be consistent is that they love the idea of the outcome more than the experience of the process. Every decision, no matter how small, requires us to weigh what we want in this moment versus what we want most. If you want to be more consistent, you have to want it (long term vision) bad enough; you have to have a reason to be consistent. For me, that reason is because I understand that every thing that I do today changes who I become tomorrow. I feel obligated and called to pursue the best version of myself so that I can give my best to the people that I care most about. In other words, I know that my consistency (or lack therefore) will impact the people around me, both near and far; now and later. Life is so much bigger than me and for that reason, I have no choice but to be as consistent as I can – it’s not about me.
Learn To Love (and Trust) The Process
If you want to be more consistent, you have to understand that the process is always more important than the product and that the process is not linear. Being consistent begins with a willingness to learn to love and trust the process that you’re pursuing. In other words (and in an ironic twist), if you want to be consistent enough to reach your desired outcome, you need to love the process more than the outcome itself. In the end, the process is the most important thing because outcomes are transient (watch this) and the process is where we live, grow, love and become. The process is life and being consistent allows us to find deep meaning. If you like analogies, read this.
Choose Principles Over Feelings
Through the experience of entrepreneurship I’ve experienced a wide range of volatile emotions and feelings (read more here). However, through it all, I’ve realized that steadiness (consistency) in action is imperative to fluid forward motion. I’m coming to see that all of life is cyclical – the sun rises and sets day, the tide comes and go, the seasons trade places, etc. – and that our feelings as human beings follow a similar pattern. Like the quote below so eloquently expresses, the human experience full of highs and lows. Life is an oscillation and being consistent means living in the middle with a steadiness that transcends feelings – that requires principles (a set of values that help us navigate the world around us). If you’d like help creating principles, read more here.
Give Yourself Grace
One of the biggest barriers to consistency is the all or nothing mentality that so many of us struggle to live with. The focus that we place on perfection makes it hard to be consistent following setbacks. However, the important thing to understand about being consistent is that it’s not about being perfect – it’s about forging ahead, down the same path even when we veer off path. Being consistent is more about correction than it is about perfection. If you’d like to be more consistent, you need to be willing to forgive yourself when you fall short. It’s human to make mistakes but holding onto them doesn’t make moving forward any easier. It’s always not about how you start, it’s about how you finish. So don’t throw away an entire day because you snoozed the alarm – shake it off, be present and get back on track.
Let Action Influence Belief
We often think of our thoughts influencing our actions, but the reverse holds true; our actions have an immense influence on what we believe and how we think. If you’re struggling to be consistent, take a step back, get out of your head and let your body do the talking. If you want to be someone who does nice things for people but don’t know how to get started, begin by doing nice things – hold a few doors, flash a few smiles and give a few compliments. Our actions change the way that we see ourselves, so you want to see yourself as a more consistent person, start being more consistent (challenge).
Start Small and Build Momentum
That last suggestions might have seemed over-obvious but this suggestion is meant to build on it (get it?). One of the biggest barriers to being consistent is a feeling of overwhelming commitment (the idea that we have to be perfect). The most challenging part of almost any pursuit is overcoming the inertia that comes with getting started. If you want to be more consistent, you have to set yourself up for success by building small wins. Whatever it is that you’d like to be more consistent with, set the bar low and raise it as you go. Never forget that, little by little, little becomes a lot and sometimes you need to start slow in order to go fast.
Last but not least, being consistent is a commitment that requires us to be accountable for our actions. In life, nobody does anything meaningful alone and with that in mind, let me suggest that as you strive to be more consistent, you lean on the consistent people in your life. If you don’t have anyone to support this change toward consistency, I would love to be a resource for you and I’d be honored to help in any way that I can (reach out here).
Being consistent is powerful because time compounds effort and the more effort that we can put in a consistent direction, the further we get, the more we grow and the bigger impact we can have on those around us. I hope that this blog was valuable to you as you contemplate how to be more consistent. To end things with a bang, let me leave you with this…
P.S. If you enjoy my content and want to support me while getting access to my exclusive email and audio newsletter, please click here. I appreciate your time, consideration and support so much!
P.P.S. If you enjoyed this blog, I’d love for you to subscribe below (one email per month).