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How to stay consistent? Whether you’re wanting to get in the best shape of your life, save money for a new house, or grow your side hustle, we are told that to get there, we must be consistent.
For a long time, the idea of consistency made me feel a little worried for my future. I would see people who were successful and consistent, and I would think: I’m not consistent… so how will I ever be successful?
Little did I know that all the times I was trying and then failing, I was learning how to get back up and try again more efficiently.
Some of us can wake up one day and make a commitment to something, but most of us have to keep trying until it sticks. That’s how I am. While I wish discipline and consistency came easy to me, they don’t. Consistency, for me, is a skill that I have been working at for many years, in many areas of my life.
While I’m in no way where I want to be as a person in terms of consistency (and many other personal characteristics), I do think I’ve made some serious headway in the last year.
I exercise consistently (3-5x a week), I’ve been eating better, doing a better job at keeping my home clean, have shown up for my Imperfect Taylor community with blog posts every Monday and Wednesday for almost a year, and have been creating content on a more consistent, intentional basis. And it feels so good.
But like I said, my consistent behavior didn’t happen overnight. So I thought back on what has gotten me to where I am today. In this post, I share the various tips and mindset hacks that have helped me improve my consistent behavior in hopes that they’ll help you, too.
This post is all about How To Stay Consistent: 9 Tips and Mindset Hacks.
1. Get Tired of Yourself
Any time I have ever changed for good, it’s because I grew so tired of how I was acting or what I was doing.
For example, I can’t tell you the number of times I thought to myself, “I really need to do the dishes more often” only to see them sit in the sink day after day. Seeing the dirty dishes in the sink and knowing I was failing at what I wanted to do better would then lead to me feeling lazy and not-so-good about myself. When this happens over and over and over again, it can feel exhausting.
But, it was necessary. At some point, I no longer wanted to feel this way about myself. That was the catalyst for me to finally change my behavior and start cleaning up.
Sometimes a change in behavior, and therefore consistency, stems from you failing over and over again until you get tired of the behavior that isn’t serving you.
If you find yourself doing something the same way that you DON’T like over and over again, you’ll get tired of yourself some point soon. Or maybe you just needed to read this paragraph to understand that you’re already at that point, and it’s time you finally start changing your behavior instead of beating yourself up.
2. “If it was easy, anyone could do it”
For some, this quote is another way of saying “don’t expect it to be easy to get the things you want”, but for me, it means, “If you don’t want to be average, you often have to take the undesirable route”.
We all have so much potential. If you want to see what you are capable of, you have to be willing to sacrifice time, comfort, and ease more often than not.
If you want to be average, you can take the easy route day after day. But if you want to fulfill your potential and reach goals you’ve never reached before, you’ll have to put in the work when it’s uncomfortable.
3. Don’t you want to see what happens if you don’t give up?
This thought is part of the reason why I continue to work on Imperfect Taylor and write blogs every week. Showing up every week on the internet isn’t easy, or always what I want to do, but I do it because I want to see what happens if I don’t give up (and because, luckily, I love it lol).
The same goes for something like working out, for example. If you show up for a couple weeks to meet a fitness goal, then stop for whatever reason, doesn’t the thought cross your mind of “man, I really wonder what could be if I didn’t stop and I just kept going…”
Or have you ever stopped something for months and thought to yourself, “I wonder where I’d be right now if I just kept going with that thing…”
I don’t want to live with thoughts like that. Thoughts of what if. I’ve experienced those thoughts before, and they’re painful for me to sit with. It is also painful, at times, to be consistent. But what is more painful is the thought of being at the end of my life and having never given it my all to reach my goals.
The next time you want to give up, try asking yourself, “don’t you want to see what happens if you don’t give up?”.
4. The idea of consistency can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to
The idea of consistency can feel intimidating or even impossible because it means practicing discipline over a long period of time.
Instead of thinking about consistency in that way, try thinking of consistency as just for today. Do what you need to do for today. And then tomorrow, have that same mindset. One day at a time.
Thinking of consistency on a smaller time scale (today vs. forever) will relieve you of the pressure that you put on yourself. Thinking about doing something for just today versus forever is a lot less overwhelming.
5. Manage your expectations
We give up because we didn’t reach our goal fast enough. We get excited about pursuing big goals because the outcome is so desirable, but the second we realize it’s going to take a lot longer or a lot more work than we realized, we give up.
Instead of expecting to reach your goal so quickly, why not start thinking of it as a lifelong commitment? This can work for really any goals that usually take a lot longer to obtain (like building strength in the gym or starting from scratch on your business).
When you manage your expectations, you’re less likely to beat yourself up along the way for not being where you want to be, because you know that it’s going to take a while.
Managing your expectations will help you focus on the process of reaching your goal versus focusing on the fact that you haven’t reached your goal yet.
6. Find a mentor or someone that inspires you
It can help to have a mentor or someone that has done what you want to do. Maybe it’s someone on Instagram, or someone at your job. But if you can find someone who has persevered through everything that you know you will face, it can be inspiring to know that “hey, if they were able to do it, so can I”.
A mentor or someone that inspires you is usually also the best person to ask questions like “What do you do when you feel like giving up?”. Because they have faced your exact (or very similar) situation and were able to overcome it, they may be willing to impart a little wisdom and show you the way.
7. Try to enjoy the thing you want to be consistent with
It is going to be really hard to stay consistent with something that you don’t enjoy.
Take exercise for example. If you hate running, it’s going to be really hard to maintain a consistent running routine. Instead, try finding another form of exercise that you actually enjoy.
If the thing you know you have to do is absolutely un-enjoyable (lol) like a household chore… focus your energy less on enjoying the process and more so on enjoying the outcome.
For example, if you really dislike doing the dishes (bc, same) do you enjoy the aftermath? Do you enjoy the fact that your dishes are all put away in their proper place, or do you enjoy simply knowing that you’ve completed this task?
Find little ways to enjoy the process or the outcome of the thing you are trying to be consistent with, so that you are more likely to keep at it over time.
8. Make it simpler – implement systems
How can we make being consistent easier on ourselves? By implementing systems. Systems make showing up easier because we don’t have to think about the HOW. We know what we need to do, we show up, and we get it done.
For example, one of the reasons I am able to be consistent with exercise is because I go to Orangetheory. At Orangetheory, I don’t have to think about what exercises I am going to do. When I arrive, an instructor tells me what to do, and I do it. That makes showing up the hardest part.
When lifting weights, I use an app called Alive by Whitney. This app breaks down my entire week and tells me how I am going to lift each day. Because of this app, I don’t need to do research on effective exercises; it’s all already laid out for me.
The same goes for my blog writing, too. If I know I want to post on Monday, I always start writing on Thursday. This way, I have about 4 days to edit and refine my post before I publish it. This system works for me because it ensures that I’m not scrambling to write a blog post on Sunday night.
Find and implement systems that make being consistent much easier.
9. Start small
If you have not read Atomic Habits by James Clear, now’s the time.
I had read this book and listened to it on Audible over the last few years, but I listened to it most recently about a year ago and it FINALLY clicked for me.
Aside from being incredibly helpful and anecdotal, the one thing from this book that stuck with me most was the idea of just doing the smallest possible action of the thing that you want to make a habit of (i.e. whatever you want to be consistent with).
For example, if you want to read 20 pages each night, but that feels really hard, try reading just half a page at first. It seems so silly and small, right? Like, half a page? What’s the point?
But the idea is to show up and get the ball rolling. Build some momentum.
In the book, the author talks about a particular scenario where a guy wanted to lose a bunch of weight. But instead of deciding that he’d workout every day for 2 hours, he made a plan to go to the gym every day for 5 minutes.
So he would walk into the gym, hop on a treadmill for a few minutes, and walk out.
Over time, 5 minutes turned into 10, which turned into 20. “I’m already here so I might as well get a workout in”, he thought to himself. And before you knew it, he was in the gym for longer and longer and the weight began to fall off. He grew more comfortable over time — thanks to that simple 5 minute commitment in the very beginning.
Don’t underestimate the impact of very small actions. Start small and see where it leads you.
This post is all about How To Stay Consistent: 9 Tips and Mindset Hacks.
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