HOW TO BE MORE CONSISTENT TO GET THINGS DONE
Consistency is something that many people struggle with. However, there are some simple little strategies which can help you be more consistent, productive and effective. It’s just a question of shifting your mindset and developing some positive habits. Check out this post on how to be more consistent to get things done.
TOUGH TIMES AND CHALLENGES
Being consistent about anything in life is important. It’s helps us achieve things and keeps us moving forward.
For example, being consistent is how we:
- Maintain our homes with minimum effort because we do housework regularly
- Pass exams because we’ve studied hard and put in the hours
- Maintain friendships even when life gets busy because we keep in touch by phone or text
- Pay off debts by earning money from going to work each day and saving a little bit regularly.
When we do these things consistently, stuff gets done.
There are plenty of big obstacles in life where consistency pays off. When we break them down, we’re able to overcome them little by little.
Here are some examples you might be familiar with – paying off a mortgage, overcoming mental health issues, navigating through marriage break-up.
We take little baby steps towards helping ourselves feel stronger and better manage our current situation, whatever that may be.
HOW CONSISTENCY CAN HELP
It’s not just the big things in life that benefit from consistency. Even small tweaks need a little time and ‘bedding in’ to become a habit. And, of course, once something becomes a habit then it’s much easier to be consistent without even really realising it!
According to a 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit. The study also concluded that, on average, it takes 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic.
In my own experience, I can make all sorts of changes in my life and have the best of intentions, but unless I’m consistent and keep it up, then no change I make will stick.
Wishing things would change is no substitute for taking (consistent) action to make them keep happening!
As author and life coach Tony Robbins says, “For changes to be of any true value, they’ve got to be lasting and consistent.”
I’ve tried it myself with so many aspects of life. Here are some examples from my own life plus some others which might resonate with some of you…
- Getting fit
- Eating healthy
- Giving up smoking
- Cutting down on chocolate or alcohol
- Getting rid of debt
- Saving money
- Shopping less
- Decluttering the home
- Being more organised
- Taking on more responsibility at work
- Learning a new skill
- Maintaining friendships
These are just a few examples off the top of my head! Achieving some of these things (to a greater or lesser degree) has only happened over the years because I’ve broken big tasks down into little ones and been consistent about making headway with them.
It’s about making small, sustained changes and improvements rather than all now and nothing for a week, and then a month…
Consistency stops us self-sabotaging. Instead of being quick off the starting blocks and fizzling out by the end, we maintain a slow and steady pace that takes us all the way to the finishing lane.
If this is a struggle you recognise in yourself or you’d like some tips on how to implement changes that you’re more likely to keep up, read on for some tips on how to be more consistent and get stuff done…
TIPS TO BE MORE CONSISTENT
1. Check in with yourself regularly
Listen to yourself and what your body and mind is asking for. You know what works and what doesn’t. It’s more about understanding ‘why’ you didn’t do something. Were you in the right mindset or feeling tired or emotional? Consistency is about doing things sometimes when we don’t really feel like it, but it’s also helpful to have in mind how you’re feeling and why, in case there’s something more to it.
2. Find the best time of day
When I want to get a little more exercise, I know myself well enough to know that attempting a work-out during the mid-afternoon isn’t going to happen. I’m more productive first thing in the morning so this is the time when I get important things done. Know yourself and get stuff done when you’re feeling most up to it.
3. Regularly assess your priorities
Things change, we change. Work out what’s really important to you right now and what you’re trying to achieve and go for them, consistently. Make a note in your diary for a week or a month to check your priorities are still current. Cross them out, switch them around or swap them for something else to make sure they’re still priorities. Keep your priority list short and sweet. If everything becomes a priority, then nothing is.
4. Failure is a great teacher
If it goes wrong, don’t give up. Start again tomorrow. Failure is in some ways vital to our personal growth. Understanding our mistakes is as important as celebrating our wins. We often learn more when we fail and have to work out why so that we try not to repeat the same mistake again. It’s all about learning.
5. Embrace the routine
Make whatever you’re trying to do or achieve a regular habit. Do you need to do it daily, weekly or monthly? When are you most likely to get it done? What do you need to avoid in order to get it done? Exercise is the perfect example. Make a slot of time when you work-out – first thing in the morning, in your lunch hour, whilst the baby naps, straight after work. It’ll just become part of your normal daily routine and less likely to be put off until another day. Talking of which…
6. Do a little bit daily
Even tiny steps will get you there. Instead of aiming to read a whole chapter of your book before bed, read just one page. Instead of walking 5 miles, just stride out purposefully for 10 minutes. Small, achievable targets which you meet are better than massive, unachievable ones that you usually fail.
7. Stay flexible to change
Is what you’re trying to achieve really as important to you as you thought it was at first or has your end goal moved? It’s ok to go back on a decision or change your mind sometimes. Be consistent but be consistent about the right things.
8. Be aware of your mindset
Your attitude and approach are the key to most things. Ensure you’re in the right frame of mind, come back to it if you’re not. If you’re feeling angry, maybe a work-out is better than trying to read your book. If you’re feeling upset, maybe journaling is more productive than decluttering your home. Yet, sometimes, a change of task and doing something that takes us out of ourselves is just what we need to change the pace and re-focus the mind. It goes back to knowing and getting real with yourself!
9. Don’t be hard on yourself
Talk kindly and offer words of encouragement to the inner you. Stay positive, be tough with yourself when you need to be and kind to yourself when you need to be. Find the balance between encouragement, motivation and a kick up the ****.
10. If it all goes wrong
Take a deep breath, explore why it went wrong and what you could do differently and try again tomorrow. Consistency is about doing a little bit often so, if it’s important to you to do something, just give it another go tomorrow.
RAINDROPS AND ROCK
I hope these tips on how to be more consistent really help you if this is something you struggle with. Above all, remember that the key to consistency is two-fold:
- Do even just a little bit, often
- Keep in mind why you’re doing it in the first place
And, we all work better when we’ve got a little incentive. If you’ve made good progress and been consistent for a week, reward yourself!
I’ll end with a powerful little quote that I love from Israelmore Ayivor.
“Do it again and again. Consistency makes the rain drops to create holes in the rock.”
Let me know in the comments if you’ve got any tips to add. I’d love to hear from you!
If you’d like to learn more about consistency, mindset and getting things done, here are some other articles you might like: