There is a widely held belief that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Many have debunked this as a myth and claim that it can take several months before forming a habit. Although the timeline varies depending on the person, the fact remains that consistency is key. As you can tell from my previous blogs, I like to define key words to ensure that we have a clear understanding (especially when the words are overused). Consistency is defined as a firmness of constitution or character. It is also defined as an agreement or harmony of parts or features to one another or a whole. Contrary to popular belief, consistency does not only mean that you do things often, but when you do them, they are at a set standard. Let us dive in.
Exercising is a fitting example of where consistency is essential. It often takes weeks before you see results, but it is important to push through even if what you see in the mirror or on the scale does not match your output. Consistency in exercising means it is important to go 3-5x a week, but also, apply the same level of dedication to every rep. I am noticing that we often miss that part when it comes to consistency. We think that it is mission accomplished if we get a routine rolling, but forget that we must also be intentional with our work.
When I first started writing personal development blogs, consistency was my non-negotiable. The quickest way a person assesses your commitment to something is your consistency. Even if only one person read my blog each week, I wanted to make sure that this one person got the information that they were looking for at the level of excellence that they expect from me. Which brings me to my next point: Consistency is difficult. There are days you will not feel like doing something. There are also days where you physically or mentally cannot do anything. This will happen (hopefully not often), and when it does, your preparation work will show. For me, I am always 1-2 blog posts ahead of schedule. Having a few extra blogs to cushion myself has proved to be helpful when I am so busy with clients and work that I cannot find time to sit and write.
This topic is near to my heart because success finds those who never stop. I have seen people start YouTube channels and have grown from a few hundred listeners to hundreds of thousands. This did not happen overnight but was a product of their consistency. Consistency is less about your audience, and more about you. Learning to be committed to something is a life skill that will translate into your business, relationships, and family. Also, with the time that you devote to a task, you are constantly learning how to improve because you are doing it so often. So, how do we become more consistent? Let us discuss the points below:
- Establish a comfortable pattern
- I know people will say, “well sometimes you have to push yourself.” This is true, but it is easy to stop doing something when you start at a very unrealistic schedule. Let us say you are having trouble waking up early, and find yourself waking up at noon every day for several years. It is unrealistic to think you can just start waking up at 6 am every morning. Even if you can do it for a few days, you would have missed the purpose of consistency. By training your body to start waking up at 9 or 10am every morning, you can start working towards a 6am start time after you have truly established that pattern. You are not in competition with anyone but yourself. Always start at a point you can commit to, and challenge yourself from there. I write weekly blogs, and this was a schedule I believed was reasonable for my lifestyle. If I decide to move up to 2-3 blogs a week, I do not think that will offend any of my readers (I hope lol), but if I miss weeks because of laziness or lack of discipline, I may lose my audience.
- Determine the quality standard
- From the dictionary definition of consistency, we learn that agreement or harmony of the parts to each other or the whole matters. Once you have established a comfortable pattern, you must also determine the standard you will deliver every time. Let us revisit our example of wanting to wake up earlier. It does you no good if you “wake up” at 9 or 10 am, but never really get your day started until noon any way. If the reason behind waking up early is to become more productive, start working, or even exercise, determine that standard and write it down. Hold yourself accountable to the quality you expect to deliver each time, and evaluate your performance. If I establish the pattern that I will record a new song every month, my quality standard may be that the song should be ready to publish at that time. Even if I record every week, if I do not have an edited and mastered song by the end of the month, I was technically not consistent, and I need to reevaluate.
- Analyze and grow
- It is important not to skip steps when you are building a culture of consistency. Some people are only consistent for a few days and are already asking if they are doing something wrong. Do not rush the process. Dedicate time to making sure your pattern is a habit that you do not even have to write down anymore. Make whatever it is that you are trying to build or start doing become so innate that it is a part of your routine. Give yourself enough time to evaluate your performance, and confirm that you have sustained your specified quality standard throughout the duration of your mission. If you fall short a few times, this should be okay, but be honest with yourself and grade whether you have reached a commendable level of consistency. Then, you can begin to analyze and grow. What is working? How can you improve or challenge yourself? Is this the right direction for you, or should you consider pivoting? By analyzing your current position, you can map out what is next.
I hope these three points will help you develop and assess consistency in areas you care about. This week’s challenge is to think of one area of your life that you have been struggling to form a habit in, but desire to become more consistent. I am sure that as you read this blog, you already had something in mind that you want to try to do better with. Great! So let’s do it. Go through the three points (emphasis on points 1 & 2 because the third point will come after some time), and create a plan of action. Book a complimentary consultation with me to discuss this challenge, or use my contact form if you have any questions.