Let’s talk about consistency. There’s no other way to reach our goals than regularly choosing habits that take us closer to our destination. There are no magic pills to make you lose weight. There is no “one-time workout” that will help you build muscle. You can’t master the clean and jerk by going to a class three times. And you can’t expect to walk on your hands without putting in the work.
Sure, there are some things that are easier to be consistent at rather than others. For instance, you can automatically setup your paycheck to save a certain percentage every month if saving is your goal. But what about the other goals you have that don’t have a robot to automate for you?
This is where the real strength comes in, and that’s the strength of your mind. Your mind can convince you to do anything, and that includes both good things and bad things. Recognizing when your mind is telling you to stick to your goals or when to stray is an important tool when trying to keep consistent.
On days when you’re feeling good, your mind is keeping you motivated. You are working out hard, you’re eating right, you’re being productive, and you're crushing small steps that are helping you to work your way to your overall long-term goals. Days like these make consistency feel easy as you’re rolling along with your own momentum. Your mind is telling you that you can do anything, and you believe it! (As you should!)
And then there are days when your mind is trying to convince you to skip out on habits that are contributing to your success. This usually happens when you haven’t gotten enough sleep, or you’re stressed at work, or maybe you’re distracted in other aspects of your life. How do you keep yourself “automated” with your consistency?
The first thing you should do, is to do your best to not listen to yourself when you’re trying to talk yourself out of something you should be doing. What you’re listening to is sometimes referred to as your “bitch voice,” and you’re stronger than your bitch voice. So for instance, if you find yourself making excuses not to go to the gym, just go to the gym. Just show up. No one ever feels bad after leaving the gym. Even if you don’t work out as hard as you normally do, or if you just decide to just walk for 30 minutes, these “mind over matter” choices will pay off at the end of the week compared to doing nothing.
But what happens when you succumb to your mind on those bad days, and in a moment of weakness, make a choice that is going to backpedal your success? Again, mental toughness comes into play. You need your mental toughness to forgive yourself for whatever you chose to do, and then to make the conscious choice to make the necessary steps to get yourself back on track. This doesn’t mean to make excuses like “Well I messed up last night, so I’m going to just keep sabotaging myself and start over on Monday.” No. Start now, get back on track now, and move on. You can’t change the past, so focus on the here and now and how you plan to get yourself to your future goals.
Choosing mental toughness takes self-awareness and discipline. You will succeed sometimes, and other times you will fail, but as long as you pick yourself up and keep moving forward, you are headed in the right direction. With enough practice, being consistent will become easier, and will eventually become a necessary part of your routine. Once you have mastered the art of consistency, success will be waiting for you. Best of luck.
-Jennifer Rando, co-founder of Unbroken Designs