We all like new beginnings. There is something fresh and exciting about a new year, a new marriage, a new car, etc. Excitement was never meant to sustain a journey. With an estimated 8% of people who actually achieve their resolutions set at the beginning of a year, there has to be something more to getting this accomplished. I have realized that the key to anyone who has become successful at reaching goal is in one simple principle: consistency. Where you are today is a result of whatever actions and decisions you make consistently. It is not the big things we do that bring us success or failure, but the small things we do every day. If consistency is something you struggle with, below are three principles I have learned to be consistent at anything.
Focus on the few.
It can be easy to start the new year with numerous amounts of large lofty goals. Yet, anytime I have ever tried to do this, I realize I never truly grasp what it would take to make those goals a reality. Anyone can do many things average. Focused people learn to do few things well. When was the last time an average effort by someone was memorable to you? One way you can apply this principle is simply shortening your list of goals. Doing this will increase your capacity to knock the other goals out of the park. This also builds confidence and momentum into the next year. The only person you are in competition with is you. There is no need compare what you accomplish this year with someone else.
Simplify your system.
I really dislike workout DVDs. I have tried workouts on YouTube, DVD programs and even have done some group exercising. For my friends, these systems are great for helping them lose weight. They simply frustrate me because A) I am not very coordinated and B) the pace is usually too fast for me. So instead of trying a new workout program this year, I decided to create my own. My goal was simply to choose 3-5 workouts I can do everyday at home, at my own pace, with no one watching. My workouts aren’t elaborate or sophisticated. But they empower me to be consistent! Simplicity empowers consistency. Complexity breeds frustration. I realized that when I could do something everyday, at my pace and at my enjoyment, I felt better about being consistent with it. I didn’t have the pressure to measure up, but simply to progress. Consider any goal you have been inconsistent in and ask yourself, how simple have you made it to accomplish that goal? Complicated systems always cause chaos.
Kill your calendar.
I know that sounds unproductive, but this principle has really helped me in being consistent. When we confine ourselves to an obligatory calendar year to accomplish so much, we often set ourselves up for failure. I am more focused on accomplishing milestones than setting due dates. No one who ever left a legacy gave it a due date. Instead of mapping our your goals based on the calendar year, consider what kinds of milestones you want accomplish over your lifespan. Next, begin to consider the consistent actions it will take you make those milestones a reality. I would rather be known as a consistently healthy person over simply losing 50lbs. Successful people are remembered by the significant things they did well over a lifetime, not in a moment. This principle also helps alleviates the natural desire to compete with other people. By focusing on the big picture, it helps bring greater value to the smaller accomplishments.
You CAN accomplish your goals. You don’t have to disregard them as meaningless exercises, but actually use them to build momentum to your future. Consistency doesn’t have to be frustrating. By allowing yourself more space to build consistency and having a solid plan, you will build a long-term legacy you can be proud of!