“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” –Aristotle
Consistency is something that many people talk about but few people practice. Everybody knows that they need to be consistent to see results in their lives, yet so many of us never take the time to plan out our habits and work on our daily routines. If you aren’t aware of just how important consistency is in your life, and how you can enhance your growth through its practice, then prepare to have your mind opened for a few minutes.
The consistent implementation of a habit or routine builds new connections in your brain. The more you fire these connections, the deeper the grooves become.
It’s like riding a bicycle. Your first attempts are terrible, but slowly over time your mind develops the ability and coordination to perform a feat you once thought was impossible. The more you do it, the less you have to think about it and soon it becomes as natural as walking. This same principle can apply to almost anything in your life. I used to really dislike exercising and having to move my body. I’d much rather play video games like Starcraft or Diablo II. Now I’m able to go to the gym every day, and it is no effort at all. People who know me well don’t understand how I have the willpower to go to the gym everyday at 7AM. I always tell them it isn’t willpower that gets me to go, it is the consistency I’ve developed. Consistency makes it easy.
Consistency takes arduous tasks and makes them as simple as eating or breathing. Making it over the initial hump takes time, but the long term benefits are immeasurable.
I recently accomplished another goal that at first seemed daunting, but became easy over time. That goal was finishing all of the DuoLingo Spanish lessons available on their website. For those of you who don’t know, DuoLingo is a great and free way to learn the fundamentals behind a multitude of different languages. There are categories with a handful of lessons that teach you the basics, and as you progress more and more categories become available. How was I able to complete the course, which consists of probably 100+ lessons? DuoLingo has a goal setting feature, which allows you to set a certain level of experience points to earn each day. Each lesson is 10XP, and I set my goal to earn 20XP per day. DuoLingo reminds you every day if you haven’t accomplished you goal, and with this strategy and consistent daily action I was able to become 70%+ fluent in a foreign language.
Set daily habits for yourself that combine and compound overtime to help you accomplish your long term goals.
Each month I set one new habit that I want to implement daily to see how it affects my daily life. If I enjoy the habit and see benefits from it at the end of the month, I keep it. If I enjoyed practicing the habit, but didn’t see benefits worth the effort- I’ll remove it from my routine. In doing this, I’ve developed a set routine of habits that I practice daily which allow me to accomplish great things over extended periods of time, without it feeling like I’m exerting a lot of effort. A few examples of this are: Reading for 30-60 minutes a day, walking 10,000 steps a day, meditating for 60 minutes a day, listening to audio books on my commute to and from work, and a weekly gratitude practice. All of these were added one at a time, over years, and compound to have a tremendous affect on my personal growth in the long term. There was an initial “willpower push” to get the ball rolling, but once the habits were implemented it was consistency that lead to great changes in my life.
In building powerful habits with consistency, what you accomplish over the years will seem impossible to most people (who don’t practice consistency)
It’s no secret: I love reading. Over the last three years I’ve read 350 books, most of which were non-fiction. How is this possible? I’ll give you a hint: Consistency. The fact is that reading this many books has had an incredible affect on the way I think and the way I experience my life. If you came up to me five years ago and asked me to read 100 books a year, I would have laughed and thought you were joking. I didn’t think I could do it back then. I mean I liked reading, but how would I have the time to do it? I’ll tell you what made the difference- when I started taking time each day to read. You don’t start a marathon thinking about the miles ahead of you, you start by running one step at a time. Reading 30-60 minutes a day and learning to love reading made it possible for me to consistently finish books. I started finishing two, sometimes three books a week in my free time. If I never started the habit, or if I never took those first steps forward, my entire life would be different than it is today. This is the power of consistency.
Think of each habit you consistently practice as an upgrade to your current state of being. Practiced over time, you are evolving who you are, becoming a better version of yourself.
With each habit you implement and each task you practice consistently, you are making progress on your being. You are upgrading who you are, with effects that ripple through your future. If you make zero changes in your life, you can visualize your future as a straight, linear line on a graph. When you start consistently implementing new habits, and practicing those habits consistently, that straight linear line turns into a steep, upward growth path. Sure, it may not be a straight line anymore (it’s probably jumping all over the place!), but your future becomes infinitely better than it would have been if you chose not to take control of your life. Consistency is the glue that holds together good habits. Start any practice with slow, consistent progress and you will experience incredible growth as you move through your timeline of life.
–Anthony from AuthenticGrowth.com
Links for Expanding Your Consistency Practice: