Dear Vibrant Young Mind,
We trust your family and you are safe.
Whether it is personal or professional, our lives are defined by the habits we have. The good ones, the ones that nurture growth, can light a path towards progress, however, the bad ones, which limit us, can light up a different path leading to stagnation. Our habits are inherently very powerful, but rather hard to control. They cannot be made or destroyed but learning how to gain control over them—whether good or bad—can help us mold ourselves into the people we want to become.
It's important to understand how these habits form. Are we just born with them? Are they imbibed into us from a young age? Are they taught to us? In most instances, they are merely a product of our behavior, slowly building up after multiple repeated instances until we perform those behaviours almost subconsciously. The key here is the ‘multiple repeated instances’ otherwise coined as the term ‘consistency.’
It seems rather easy, promising ourselves to be consistent, the hard part lies in following through on this promise. This is because keeping consistent, especially with “good” habits takes effort and is possibly time-consuming. These are two things human nature always shys away from. This is why procrastination and laziness can play the devil’s advocate to consistency. “I will do it tomorrow,” “It’s not that important,” “I’m tired.” We all have made these excuses before, they seem almost inevitable but pushing past these thoughts and working even when we don’t want to stick to a schedule or a routine is what makes us consistent. It’s what makes us progress and form habits.
“Consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness.” — Scott Ginsberg
This holds very true and in the long run, we see that consistent people have the most progress, both personally and professionally.
Once we get consistent at a certain action or behaviour, breaking away from it is almost challenging. This is great news for the good habits we make as they stick with us and they get easier to do as we are consistent. But, it also spells trouble for our bad habits as breaking them becomes that much harder. Take on the challenge, we might just have to become consistent at breaking bad habits too.
Now that we know why consistency is key, how do we develop it? If you are an extremely strong-willed person, maybe just reading this article was enough to push you to be consistent in your life, whether it's job responsibilities or just starting to exercise daily. But, for the majority of us, we might need more help. Here are a few tips to develop consistency. Remember, we need to figure out what purpose we are driven by first in order for these tips to be more productive.
Write down your long term goal The initial rush when we start any new task fades away and we forget why we started being consistent with a task in the first place. Write down why you wanted to start being consistent with a task and read it occasionally as a motivational tool.
Keep reminders Sometimes, no matter how well we plan, we forget certain tasks. Keep a reminder, in multiple places if necessary like your phone or laptop.
Give yourself time before expecting changes Very rarely can we see instant results, we have to be patient and practice delayed gratification where we receive the benefit of this repetition later rather than instantly.
We tend to look for instant gratification and in the search of that, we fail to acknowledge that some things do take time. When we don’t see immediate results, suddenly the meaning of staying consistent is lost. But consistency isn’t about obtaining quick results, rather it’s about maintaining incremental progress over a period of time.