Marie Forleo once said, “Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally, it comes from what you do consistently.” This doesn’t come as a surprise though. For many of us, we know that consistent actions will provide the results we’re looking for in life. Even so…we still struggle with consistency! Why is it so hard to overcome lack of consistency?
I posted a poll on my Instagram story asking about what people struggled with the most. One of the options was goal setting, and every single person who voted for this shared with me that consistency is one of the obstacles they face.
Here’s the thing, many times when we set goals we’re too focused on motivation. When we’re motivated we naturally create a full-blown plan of how we’re going to achieve our goals, and that plan is typically extreme. So – maybe for a few days or even weeks, we’re able to maintain our motivation and keep up with the intense plan we made. But then we lose our motivation, life gets in the way, and we feel discouraged that we didn’t stay consistent with the ridiculously intense plan we set way back when we were motivated.
In this post, we’re going to rethink what consistency means in our lives and how we can overcome lack of consistency. I hope you’re ready because while learning to be consistent may not be exciting, it’s definitely one of the most impactful things you can learn to shape your future. Let’s dive in!
What is the importance of being consistent?
If you want to overcome lack of consistency in your life, it’s important to recognize why it’s even important in the first place. First, consistency is going to help keep you accountable. Consistent actions are going to progress you towards your goals, so if you’re not being consistent and you’re not making progress, you may be struggling with consistency.
Consistency also helps you stand out. I’m telling you – people will notice your consistent efforts. I’m going to remember you showing up at the gym 3 days every week more than I will remember the person who shows up once a month.
Consistency builds trust – not only with yourself but with others as well. When you remain consistent, you’re less likely to doubt your ability to take on new tasks in the future. You’re more likely to choose new habits to work into your routine. Others are more likely to recognize you as the go-to resource.
Reasons why you’re struggling to be consistent
You’re focused on the outcome
I want you to be honest with yourself for a moment. How many times have you set a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight or eat healthier? How many times did you set this goal because you were focused on what your ideal body would look like? Or how your health would improve?
I hope you said yes because let’s face it – we all do that. We all have goals and dreams that we want to achieve! And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that; however, we tend to become more focused on the outcome than we are with the growth that comes along the journey. Instead of reminding ourselves of the small wins we achieve each day, we tell ourselves that we’re not much closer to achieving our goals. In reality, you’re much closer than you were before you got started in the first place.
Radical consistency comes from a focus on the process, not perfection.Robyn Conely Downs
You’re equating consistency with intensity
One thing that we fail to recognize is that our actions don’t need to be perfect for them to be consistent. I remember every time I wanted to lose weight in the past, I would go from being a couch potato to creating a plan to work out for an hour every day, get 10,000 steps, drink one gallon of water, etc etc. Why do we do that to ourselves?!
Consistency doesn’t have to be all or nothing. We don’t need to start 10 habits at once. Instead, consistency is looking back and seeing the accumulation of the consistent actions you’ve taken over time. For instance, walking for 30 minutes every day for a month will eventually become a habit. At that point, you can add in a half-gallon of water every day. Then you can add strength training for 4 days a week. Do you get where I’m going with this?
How to overcome lack of consistency
Identify the areas you want to grow in
I suggest that you make a list of the areas you want to improve in your life. I was talking to my mom the other day, and I shared with her that many people are rushing to get to a destination without knowing where they’re even starting. Imagine going to Six Flags and trying to get to Superman but you don’t even know where you are to begin with. What do you do? You find a map, and on the map, it says very clearly “YOU ARE HERE” with a big arrow.
I want you to do a quick assessment of where you are in different areas of your life right now. This shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. Think about your relationships, career, extracurriculars, finances, spirituality, etc. Rate those areas on a scale of 1-10 and prioritize which areas you want to start with.
Focus on one thing at a time
It’s so important to prioritize your goals and work on them in a way in which you won’t feel overwhelmed. There’s a reason why your doctor isn’t going to tell you to quit smoking, quit drinking, and cut out sugar all at the same time! You’re going to fail at them all, then feel like you’re a failure when that’s not the case. You just need to switch your approach and focus on one goal at a time.
Remember your why
Everything you do in life will have a reason behind it. Even if the reason is meaningless or silly. When it comes to consistency with your goals, your reason is going to have to be impactful. Your why needs to be so personal and meaningful to you that you’ll want to keep going. If your why is surface-level, it most likely won’t be enough to keep you going. I encourage you to dig deep and think about why you want to be consistent with xyz. Be specific. Get deep. Journal it if necessary.
Related: Your Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting
Don’t prioritize your schedule, schedule your priorities
We often wake up feeling uninspired or unmotivated to tackle our goals, so we tell ourselves that we’ll do the task later. But later never comes. Then the next day comes, and we’re upset because we didn’t do what we said we’d do the day before. And the cycle continues.
Have you ever tried to be proactive instead of reactive? Basically, there are always going to be spontaneous things that happen throughout the day which can derail our progress on our goals. But if we try to be proactive by scheduling our tasks into convenient parts of our day, we’re less likely to skip over them or let unplanned events get in the way. One of the many ways you can achieve this is by time blocking.
Discipline over motivation
Earlier I mentioned how motivation basically fails every single time. Motivation is fleeting – it comes and goes in random bursts. If you want to overcome lack of consistency in your life, you need to toss motivation out the window. Well, maybe not entirely but mostly.
Motivation has its use for sure, but when you want to build a new habit, routine, or work towards your goals, you’ll need to recognize that discipline will get you further than motivation ever will. Motivation is limited, discipline is permanent.
Discipline is going to help you conquer the voice in your head that tells you to relax instead. Discipline is going to help you keep going even when you’re afraid of failure (along with a proper mindset). Discipline is going to help you be honest with yourself, adjust your goals and be strategic with your action.
I want you to remember that you’re not going to wake up tomorrow morning and suddenly be consistent in everything you do. Not everything is going to matter enough to you where you’ll even want to be consistent. Sometimes people tell me that they aren’t consistent with studying in school and I remind them that maybe they’re not passionate about what they’re doing. You can’t force passion and of course, it’s going to be hard to stay consistent with something you couldn’t care less about.
Regardless, these tips should help get you started on your journey to being more consistent in life. In your habits. In your goals. But I also want you to remember that it’s okay to be an amateur. When you’re first starting out, you won’t be anywhere near where you want to be – and that’s okay. We all have to start somewhere. Consistency doesn’t mean you’ll never mess up, it means you won’t give up. Consistent habits will eventually become your lifestyle.
If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment below on what you liked the most! I’d love to hear from you 🙂
I really liked the discipline over motivation tip. I know its not motivation that will keep me consistent but i forget it almost every single time….
This is awesome
This is a great piece!
The last thing you said that it’s okay to be an amateur and that’s touch my heart cause from last few months I’m trying to be consistent with my actions in order to achieve my goals but always found myself messing up with the days
Still I’m going on cause giving up is not a option for me. I really found your post good thank you dear \(-ㅂ-)/ ♥ ♥ ♥
I’m so glad that you found it helpful! Sometimes we really need to remind ourselves that it’s not just okay to be a beginner but that it’s normal to be a beginner! Babies aren’t born as doctors, so why do we put pressure on ourselves to be perfect the first time we try something? I’m rooting for you, friend! 🙂
I want to say that I never take notes when I research this stuff, but I actually did because I didn’t want to forget this. I am willing to do the inner work on my personal spiritual journey, sometimes I lack consistency. My lack of consistency shows up in my relationships, my work, and my education. I really appreciate this.
If everyone was being honest, I’m sure we all lack consistency. Even I struggle with consistency at times! I’m glad to hear that you jotted down the tips that stood out to you the most, and you can always save/bookmark this post to refer back to as well! It won’t be going anywhere 🙂
Wow! Thank you for this post, Yasmine. I was actually taking notes as I was reading. I stumbled on your post just when I was in search of answers to a consistent lifestyle of victory. I am tired of failing consistently, but I’m not ready to quit trying. That’s how I found you.
I love how you shared a link to time blocking. It’s helpful.
I also love the fact that you’re a passionate lover of Jesus. I guess that’s how I’m able to connect well with your content here.
Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Caleb! It means a lot to hear that you’ve found the post helpful and even took notes. 🙂
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Excellent article about consistency. Really appreciate your writing, Ariel.
You’re such an inspiration to me Ariel!!!!!
Oh my goodness! Thank you so much, you’re so sweet! 🙂