"In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently."
- Tony Robbins -
Sometimes a certain word seems to be all around you, all the time. At first you might not notice and then all of the sudden you get the memo. It’s like the universe is putting out all the signs, “Look here, look here!” and is eagerly waiting for you to get involved with the lesson that is to be learned. Consistency has been one of those for me recently. At first I was like ‘Yeah, I know, it’s important.. keep showing up, do the things and change will come.” (the hilarious 'I know this already' mindset which is such an enemy of learning but that's another story). But then one of my coaches this week did a whole 20 minute session around consistency and it finally caught my full attention. What does consistency really mean? Where am I being consistent in my life? Why is it so important and how does this thing really work? Let me share some of my thoughts with you while they are still fresh.
Consistency, to me, means doing something on a regular basis. And that can be anything, small or big. Ideally it is more conscious than a habit which goes on autopilot, but even without realising it we are consistent with a lot of things in our lives. In the end we are creatures of habit. It can be certain behaviour, like being on time for meetings or training at a certain day/time every week. It can be the way you are present with loved ones, that you’re always striving for growth or that you react a certain way every time someone annoys you. But it can also be in your thoughts, like your self talk.. the possibilities are endless.
This means we can be consistent in positive and negative ways, so your consistent behavior can either progress you or hold you back. It’s the simple law of cause and effect. And let’s say you would like to change something in your life, then a different result will only occur when you take different actions than you took before. Now this is where consistency gets interesting. It requires patience, dedication and commitment. In order to get certain results, we need to take consistent long-term action and not just do something once in a while.
However, consistency doesn’t mean being perfect. It is a practice, where you keep taking action and focus on staying aware of your behaviours. If you slip, then you get back in the game as soon as you notice it. The more action you will take, the more you build a track record of successes. You did what you said you were going to do at the time and in the way you were going to do it and this builds something magical: trust. Trust in yourself if it’s something related to you, or trust from others if it involves how you show up for the people around you. It shows that you can be counted on, and the belief in yourself grows. You and others learn to trust your intentions.
It also provides clarity, within yourself and your relationships. It keeps things pure and can give you peace of mind. In times where life feels unsure, being consistent with something as small as sitting down to have breakfast at a certain time every single day can be huge in giving you a feeling of calm and gives reassurance. It creates ritual, can make a practice sacred. And the trust, discipline and commitment that you will build there, will help you take these feelings and practices into other areas of your life. This makes it easier to commit to and be consistent in other areas of your life where you might have found it harder previously.
Consistency means that you keep showing up, rain or storm. No matter how you feel or what goes down in your life, you do what you say you were going to do. Which can be very challenging, but if you let your emotions determine your actions, you’re screwed. Keep showing up, because in due time you will break through the resistance and the uncomfortable feelings and you will be so thankful to yourself and proud that you stuck with it. It sometimes can feel like a surprise to yourself, looking back you might think ‘I didn’t think I would be able to do this!’ and that right there is the magic. It boosts your self-trust, confidence and builds new habits.
And if you do miss a day, that happens. Life will keep on doing it’s thing and that’s ok. If it happens, lay off the self-criticism, just get straight back in the game. Here are some last tips to help you to stay consistent:
Tell someone what you’re committing to being consistent with, someone that will hold you accountable.
Remind yourself in all ways possible: set an alarm on your phone, create post its around the house, on your phone or laptop.
Build it into your routine, it should feel like brushing your teeth: just something you do.
Write out what you’re committing to, prepare yourself, take one thing at a time and make it a sacred practice.
Set it as a fun challenge, include a start/end date and celebrate your wins!
What things are you consistent with that you are proud of? And where could you be more consistent in your life?