If you asked me the one quality that defines the very successful from those that see mediocre results it would be consistency. Like I have mentioned before, focusing on perfection breeds failure, but not being consistent is a more common mistake that is harder to identify.
We’ve all done it before. We go to the gym and work harder than ever and eat really well for a few weeks and then our schedule blows up and we completely fall off track for a week then decide its time to start up again. Repeat for a few months or years and frustration sets in and we wonder why we haven’t experienced better results.
Contrast that with consistency, which nearly always pays off. We all know or have heard of someone who put in the work day after day, year after year. Their daily output or effort isn’t extraordinary, but their cumulative efforts create a body of work that guarantees success.
Everyone can work hard for a time, few can consistently apply themselves
There are literally thousands of examples of people whose “hard work” paid off. The truth is that hard work is easy, for a time. Consistency takes dedication and persistence to work through the ups and downs of life. Individuals that achieve great things do so by consistent effort over a long time. Ask any MD what med school was like, or any successful entrepreneur what the first 5 years of their business was like. Chances are they will tell you that it was a grind. They had to dedicate themselves day in and day out.
I’m not asking you for years of effort or to change your entire life. I simply want you to focus on being consistent with the few basic behaviors I have outlined so far. In reality that is all it takes to achieve any goal. You don’t need to put forth superhuman efforts or change everything. Small behavior modifications consistently applied over months add up to large changes. Below I’ll outline a few principles to live by if you want to work towards becoming more consistent.
“Focus on the positive”. While this may seem cliché’, it really is a vital aspect of incorporating successful change and keeping a positive mindset when life becomes difficult. If you focus on the difficult aspect of any activity it will inherently seem much harder. This is often what happens whenever any roadblocks come up to you staying consistent. For example, you have a busy week and you think to yourself “this sucks, I’m not going to be able to get to the gym or eat very well”. Guess what? You just told yourself what you were going to do and you play that scenario out.
Difficulty is relative to your frame of mind. I’m not saying that you won’t actually face difficult situations, but by staying positive and finding a way to get what you need to done you minimize damage, both physically and psychologically.
Add to your life, don’t eliminate
Another simple mindset change that is a long the same line as thinking positively is the concept of adding to your life, not subtracting. What is the first thing that comes to mind when I ask you to start getting more sleep or eating less sugar? You think about what you can no longer do: less time watching late night tv while eating ice cream! If you are honest something like that probably goes through your mind.
Stop trying to stop doing things and start trying to start doing things
Instead of focusing on what you don’t get, I want you to tell yourself that you are adding something to your life. Instead of missing TV you are adding more energy and quality to your life by getting more sleep. Instead of missing ice cream binges you are adding money to your pocket (less groceries), happiness (no more feeling guilty), and better body composition by not eating sugar all the time.
Start applying these principles today. It will not always be easy, but as the saying goes “slow and steady wins the race”. If you are in this for a lifetime of performance, health, and happiness consistent effort will ultimately get you wherever you want.