Updated: Jun 27, 2020
How is your year going so far? Are you sticking your New Year goals and resolution, or are you struggling to stay consistent with the things you said you wanted to do and achieve in 2020? Consistency is a great characteristic to build and implement in your life in order to achieve your goals and dreams.
I am convince that most of the things that made it to your 2020 goal list are not things that happen overnight. Most likely you're going to have to build some consistency to help you achieve them. But building consistency can be hard.
Consistency, or better say, the lack of it, might be the main reason why you gave up on your goals in the past, the reason why you didn't crossed the finish line, despite all the motivation and drive you had when you got started.
Today I want to share with you my 4 secrets and some additional tips to build consistency, so this year is the year you don't give up, the year you cross the finish line and achieve the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year.
Here are my 4 secrets to build consistency:
Start an iterative process of setting and achieving specific small goals that will compound over time
Anchor yourself to your why
Leverage the power of repetition
It's hard to be consistent when we don't have a clear view of what exactly is what we want to achieve. Do you have a clear idea of what goal(s) you want to achieve? Are those specific enough? Maybe you want to lose weight, get a promotion, buy a house or pay a debt this year. Make sure you write your goals down and that you are as specific as possible when doing so. Listen to Episode 10 of the Leading Yourself podcast to learn more about how to set these goals.
When you try to focus on achieving that BIG goal you set for yourself it can overwhelming and you might feel you are not making any progress. When this happens, most people just give up. To avoid this it's important to break your goals is smaller steps or milestones.
After identifying the milestones write down all the things you need to do consistently to enable you to achieve your goal. Make sure you are specific on what these things are, identify how often, when and where you are doing to do them and make sure you add them to your calendar. At this point your biggest challenge is probably be not to fall in the trap of analysis paralysis. You probably going to start doing some research on the things you need to do, and how to do them. My best advice this is that you get started before you are ready. Just get started and do what you can, with what you have where you are. Strive for progress over perfection.
The next step is to set reminders around you. This might look like an alarm in your phone, or post it notes around your house and work place or have your goals as a screen saver in your computer. This helps me keep them top of mind all the time. Another things that really has helped stay on track, focused and has consistent is to write my goals down every morning as part of my morning routine. This helps me keep my goals top of mind in every choice that I make, in very decision that I take during the day.
All these reminders are only going to work over time if you have a strong WHY, otherwise at one point these reminders are going to become noise. It's important that you answer the question why these goals are important for you? Why staying consistent is important? And you need to deep in your why, don't just stay in the surface. Once technique that helps me go deep in my why is asking myself why 5 times.
At this point is time to get to action. After going through the first round of that thing you are looking to be consistent at, reward yourself. I believe that even the smallest accomplishments deserve to be celebrated and this is a perfect example of that. My only caution here is that you pick a reward that is appropriate, that supports your ultimate goal. Think about a reward that can support your goal or enable you to continue to build on your consistency.
After getting through the first round, go for it a few more times before you expand your goals or jump to the next milestone. Continue to reward yourself but try to space out your rewards over time. Instead of rewarding yourself after one week of being consistent, maybe next time set up a reward after two, three or four weeks of staying consistent.
The next key for success that I mentioned is repetition. Establishing routines is key for success in building consistency. If we look at the dictionary for the definition of routine we will find that a routine is a sequence of events regularly follow. If you try to do the things you are trying to get consistent at at different times every day, maybe in different places, it's going to take a lot of energy and focus to stay on top of everything. Instead build consistent routines and set up cues to trigger you starting your routines. Listen to episode 13 of the Leading Yourself podcast for some ideas and tips on how to do this.
Finally, my last secrete to build consistency is to track. Yes, track! You are going to be amaze by the power of this simple strategy. It will help you take control of your choices throughout your day, because yes, everything is a choice. Some choices are reinforcing the habits and the behaviors we are trying to be consistent at and others are hindering that consistency and ultimately are preventing you from achieving your goals.
Start by picturing where you are today and where you want to go and increase your awareness of the choices that you are making today that either support or hinder you from achieving your goals. Once you have identify those, start tracking when you take those choices, both the ones reinforcing your consistency as well as those hindering it. I encourage you to track them for three weeks. Why three weeks? Because it takes about 21 days to build a habit. The secret of tracking is to start simple and small, just write things down on a piece of paper or start a note in your phone. I know you might now be thrilled with the idea of tracking but I guarantee you that after a few weeks you would be amaze by the transparency around your choices, and that information is going to give you the power to change the choices that you make throughout the day, and help you build that consistency you are looking to build to enable you to ultimately achieve your goals.
I hope you found those four strategies helpful, but just in case, here are some additional tips to help you build consistency:
1. Just because you made a mistake or missed an appointment, deadline or milestone, don't give up, keep going. The fact that you miss an appointment, deadline or milestone doesn't mean you are not consistent or that you failed. Despite our best intentions and planning, sometimes external factors can get in our way that is why it’s key to plan and prepare in advance for when setbacks come. This is key because is when setbacks come that most people give up. If you get off track, jump back right away, never wait for next week or next month to get back on track.
2. Find an accountability partner, someone you trust. Ask your accountability partner to check in with you on a regular basis and give this person permission to call you and give you some tough love when you fall off track.
3. It's important to be patient. Most likely you are putting all this effort to become consistent because you want to accomplish something that is important to you. Remember your why always. If you don't see progress right away or as fast as you were expecting, don't get discourage, be patience. I promise, consistency always pays off! Once in a while is important though to check that the things we are working towards developing consistency at are the right things that will yield the results we are expecting to achieve. If you come to the conclusion that is not the right things to focus on it's completely ok to pivot; just make sure you have gave yourself enough time and you have been honest with yourself before pivoting. Yes, I intentionally said pivot and not give up. Never give up!
4. Work on your will power and negative self-talk, two things that can through you out when trying to develop consistency. Listen to episode 13 of the Leading Yourself podcast for tips on how to develop that will power and stop that negative self-talk.
As always to learn more about this topic, to get more tips and tricks and concrete examples to help you better grasp these concepts don't forget to listen to episode 13 of the Leading Yourself podcast.