Who doesn’t remember the punchline to the tale about the tortoise and the hare? Let me refresh your memory. “Don’t brag about your lightning pace, for slow and steady wins the race.”
There is wisdom aplenty in today’s world for this age-old Aesop fable, and it provides a good springboard for a discussion about the power of being consistent when you’re trying to reach a goal.
Whether you’ve committed to eating healthier, exercising more regularly, getting to bed earlier, or developing a meditation practice, being consistent will play a crucial role in achieving your goals.
Why Work on Consistency?
Consider this one amazing fact:
A single penny doubled every day for 31 days results in a whopping $10,737, 418.24.
A single penny doubled every other day for 31 days yields just $163.84, less than 1/100th of the millions you would get in the first instance.
The real value of being consistent is more practical and widely applicable than making ten million dollars. Rather, it is about developing the persistence and patience necessary to stick with your goal until it is realized.
Examine Your Consistency Zappers.
The greatest challenges you must be prepared for are your excuses
“There are a million things I have to deal with. It’s impossible for me to focus so completely on just one.” (It’s too difficult)
“It’s hard for me to be consistent because I’m just so busy.” (I’m overwhelmed)
“Sure, this goal was important last week, but my priorities are constantly changing.” (I’m not in control).
Do any of these sound at all familiar to you? I’m sure that in my life of goal-setting, I’ve sabotaged my efforts with each of these probably more than once! Our excuses are the biggest challenges we must overcome to be consistent in doing what is required of us to achieve our goals. Does that sound ridiculous? It’s the excuses we allow that prevent us from achieving our goals. It’s as simple as this – You can have results or excuses. You cannot have both.
Consistency is the Key.
When I decided to become a health coach after raising 7 children and then working twenty-five years as a hospital administrator/chaplain, I was sorely lacking in any skill or experience in starting or running a business! True story. I was, however, determined to figure things out and succeed.
Because I was committed to being successful as a health coach, I consistently did what needed doing, from the ground up, one difficult learning experience day at a time. There were some possible distractions, many of them more attractive than slugging through, for an example, my woefully poor computer/technology skills. Slug away I did, though, consistently, because I knew there would be no success without doing so.
And now I have a thriving, perfectly sized for me, health coaching practice that suits me just fine, on many levels of my life.
Start by Making a List
If you have a goal you want to achieve, make a list of those activities that are most important in helping you reach your goal.
Then follow these seven recommendations
1. Make a commitment. After you identify the activities you need to do to accomplish your goals, make a commitment to do them consistently – no excuses. Plan when you will do what, rather than waiting for the “right” time.
2. Set up routines that support your goal. For example, if you commit to exercising every morning, allocate the amount of time you will need to do each activity up to and including your exercise period, such as getting out of bed, dressing, morning chores, and travel time.
3. Don’t allow excuses. Remember? You can have the results you want or excuses, not both.
4. Take advantage of your peak energy state. Use the times when your energy level is high to devote to the activities you need to be consistent about. It’s much easier to do what you know you should do when you have energy than when you are exhausted.
5. Do the challenging tasks first. Getting the tough jobs done first has a way of making the rest be a downhill run – much easier. It’s much easier to procrastinate about doing the hard things, so go after them first and get them taken care of.
6. Review your goals often. When you write down your goals, consider writing a commitment letter to remind yourself why your goal is important and to list the reasons you want to achieve it. Hang it in a visible place and review the letter anytime you find yourself procrastinating or rationalizing that something else is more important.
7. Commit to 21 days in a row. This is the number that it usually takes to form a habit. Once the habit takes hold, consistency will be much easier.
Keys to Success
-Look at your goals and decide what you need to do with consistency to achieve them
-Determine which of the above seven suggestions apply to your situation
-Put together an action plan. Write it down.
-Set a consistency goal that you can maintain over an extended period of time.
-Be realistic. Be kind to yourself. Biting off more than you can chew at a time often ends in frustration. Small, incremental goals that move you towards some big results will give you more minor victories along the way and help to keep you focused on the big picture.