“Don’t fear the man who knows 1,000 techniques. But fear the man that has practiced one technique 1,000 times.” –Bruce Lee
Everybody knows it’s important. Everybody knows you need it if you want to achieve whatever you set out to achieve.
But we don’t typically look at it as a skill.
We look at like an attribute.
To show up every day is a skill though.
Why is consistency so difficult?
It’s difficult because we are constantly changing.
Often in subtle ways we cannot even comprehend.
Are you the same person today as you were yesterday? You might have done similar tasks but you didn’t do the same tasks at the exact same time. You didn’t speak the same words. You didn’t consume the same foods.
Which means you changed.
This is clearer the longer we extrapolate life. It’s hard to see how you were different five days ago. But if you compare yourself to five years ago, you can probably notice a stark contrast. Time gives us perspective.
Each subtle change to ourselves makes it harder for us to be consistent. Because we are changing every day, our priorities change as well.
This is a scary reality because it makes consistency hard to accomplish.
How To Cultivate The Skill
If we know we are going to change, are we completely helpless?
Of course not.
People have remained consistent for long periods of their lives and reaped tremendous rewards. Companies have remained consistent while growing and changing.
Here are some ways you can make sure you’re using consistency throughout the changes:
My purpose is to make the world happier, healthier, and wiser. It helps me get out of bed in the morning. It is more important to me than money. It is something that lights me up.
Having a purpose can keep you consistent because it reminds you why you’re doing it.
Commit to what you can control
You can’t control the weather. You can’t control the feedback. But you can control your own effort. Set a specific amount of time.
For example, for this website, I am committing to posting twice a week (Monday and Thursday) for one year straight and then judging the results.
Use a routine
Routines help. They make it easy for us to do the desired actions over and over again. They help make sure we’re acting the same way day after day. Throw someone’s routine off, they’ll often be a completely different person. You can use this to your advantage. Set yourself up for success by using routines.
Similar to routines is linking. This is when you do something and link it to something else. This is a helpful way to stay on track because it does not require you to think.
For example, if you linked putting on your sneakers to working out, it would take the thinking out of the situation.
“Should I work out or should I not?”
It doesn’t matter. Since you put your sneakers on you will do your workout.
The Ten Minute Rule
Decide to do an activity for ten minutes. Then, if you want to quit… go for it. Oftentimes the hardest part was just getting yourself to start.
You’re either pushing forward and building momentum… or you’re not.
By staying in motion, it leads you to tackle more, achieve more, and be better than you were yesterday.
Just like an object, staying in motion will help you do more than you ever thought when you started. You’re building on your energy, efforts, and achievements from yesterday to build more energy, efforts, and achievements. A beautiful, never-ending cycle.
Get right back up when you fall
You might not be able to stay in motion forever.
One key insight from a study on habits was that: “Missing one opportunity to perform the behaviour did not materially affect the habit formation process.”
Meaning if you do mess up once, it’s okay. Just get right back on track. The one slipup won’t effect you if you don’t let it ruin tomorrow’s results.
If you want to be successful, start viewing consistency as a skill.
Life will change. You will be pushed in new directions. You will be a different person a year from now than you are today.
But using the tactics in this post, you can successfully form whatever habits you want to form to remain consistent.