“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” -Maria Robinson
Good news, it’s a new year, at least according to the Jewish calendar. Last week marked the Jewish New Year and if you know me at all, I’m a big fan of new beginnings. I write a lot about goal-setting and creating change in our lives and I like to take every opportunity I can to revisit our personal goals and commitments, and of course what better time than a new year, even if you’re not Jewish and you don’t celebrate Rosh Hashanah!
When it comes to creating meaningful change in our lives, very few of us can rely on what we did yesterday to get us through today. Yet so many of us reserve only the first of the year for great changes. Once we lose momentum with our goals we tend to neglect them until next year.
One of the most difficult, yet crucial aspects of creating change is consistency. Consistency has to do with focus: setting your sights on a single goal or objective, and holding them there until that goal has been realized. Understanding and developing consistency is one of the most important things you can do to improve the successfulness you experience in your life in general.
I know for myself, I can get into a really good habit and successfully establish a routine that feels doable and then life happens and I get sidetracked, or I have to skip a day, and all of a sudden I’ve abandoned my new lifestyle all together. It’s easy to get down on ourselves for not being perfect in our endeavours but I think these struggles can actually be a healthy part of the process, if we allow ourselves to learn from them. Imagine standing on the platform of a BOSU ball: your core is not strengthened by standing still, your core is strengthened by the constant threat of imbalance and the effort put forth as you struggle to keep yourself upright. The same is true in life. Sometimes we need to stumble and even fall down a bit in order to pick ourselves back up with strength and newfound resolve.
Each day, each moment offers us the opportunity to start anew, to reach for the goals we set for ourselves. And because new moments come along sixty times a minute, we are only ever a moment away from becoming exactly who we want to be.
If you’re looking to make changes in your own life and you are struggling with finding the focus or consistency to do it, you may want to consider these three fundamental concepts which I believe consistency is built upon, and which are crucial for fully understanding and applying consistency well:
Patience: One of the main reasons we don’t stick with what we’re doing, whatever that might be, is simply because we are impatient. We want results and we want them yesterday! The world of diet and exercise is a perfect example. We try something for a week or two, and because we are impatient for results, we immediately run off to the next interesting fad we see or hear about. Patience is key to consistency: we must be patient, take our time, and focus our efforts diligently in one direction in order to produce quality, lasting, tangible results.
Belief: Additionally, if we don’t believe in what we are doing we will be much less likely to do it consistently. Our consistency, or lack thereof, in what we do is a good indication of our true beliefs about it. A lack of consistency in this case may not be a negative, it may just be a sign that there is some self-work that needs to be done. Perhaps there are limiting beliefs that are getting in the way of you being able to believe you can really have what it is you say you want, or it may be a sign that something just isn’t right and you need to move on to something else.
Value: Piggybacking on the previous point is the value we perceive to result from the action we take. Everything we do is generally motivated by one of two things: fear and desire. In either case, we take action based on perceived value: running from a tiger has the value of saving our life, while running as a form of exercise has the value of maintaining our health. If we fail to see some kind of return (even a long-term one) from whatever it is we’re doing, most of us will be severely de-motivated and our consistency will suffer as a result.
Developing consistency is doable, but it definitely takes practice, and I believe that understanding these three ideas is imperative to becoming more consistent in all aspects of our lives. Next time you notice your consistency is lacking, take the opportunity to grow and learn from your process by considering these three ideas and how they apply to whatever you are doing.
In an effort to practice what I preach, I’m taking this opportunity to declare my commitment to my blog and vowing to be more consistent with my writing. Fear wants to tell me to only commit to one article a month (doable), however, being true to my goals would probably require me to commit to weekly articles (opening myself up to higher chance of failure, which is really scary!) I’d like to ask for your help with this goal by contributing topic ideas. If you would be so kind as to either leave a comment on the blog or just send me an email I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on what you think are relevant topics that you would like to hear more about.