Have you fallen off the bandwagon, time and time again? Do you find yourself starting out very enthusiastically only to get discouraged and quit a couple of weeks later?
You may have heard that action and hard work are the key to success. But that’s only partly true. Taking action EVERY SINGLE DAY and CONSISTENT hard work are the key.
You don’t get fit by going to the gym once a week. You don’t become a better writer if you only sit down to write once a month. Your confidence on camera will never improve if you record a video once in a blue moon.
If you want to see progress in your personal life and business, you have to master the skill of being consistent. No matter how talented you are in any given area, if you don’t practice consistently, you won’t reap any substantial results.
Key #1: Pick One Thing
I always say there’s more than one way to get to the same end result. But that doesn’t mean you should try everything, much less all at the same time.
This happens a lot in business. You see someone having success with YouTube, so you’re compelled to start making videos. Then you notice another person having success on Instagram, and you immerse yourself in learning how to grow your followers and you strive to post every day. The following week you pile on Facebook, Twitter, and blogging to your marketing efforts.
More is not always better. Trying to be consistent with multiple things at once gives us a false sense of accomplishment. We falsely believe that being busy means we’re making progress. In reality, overloading yourself with too many things at once will eventually bury you under stress and overwhelm. You’ll end up doing nothing at all.
To avoid this, give your time, attention, and energy to one strategy at a time. Once you’re consistent and master one activity, you can go on to tackle the next thing.
Key #2: Find Your Sweet Spot
When we decide to make a change in our lives, our natural tendency is to go all in. When you want to get in shape, for example, you start reading all the books on nutrition and exercise you can find. You plan to workout 7 days a week for 3 hours a day. And you cut out junk food cold turkey.
I guarantee that regimen will only last a couple of days. Your body isn’t used to intense workouts and strict diets. That’s too much, too soon.
To be consistent with a workout regimen, you have to slowly work your way up to a better diet and hard-core workouts. The best way to do this is to set small actions that aren’t too hard but not too easy. It needs to be challenging but not impossible.
It’s the same concept with all other areas of your life. To be consistent at anything you have, find your sweet spot. Start with small achievable actions. Then work your way up in small increments. Success in anything is simply a series of small steps compounded together over time.
For example, if you want to publish YouTube videos every week, start with one a month. Then one every two weeks. Once you accomplish that, you’ll be more likely to stay consistent with weekly videos.
Key #3: Schedule It
When you have a doctor’s visit, you show up because it’s scheduled. When something is scheduled, that means it’s non-negotiable; you have to do it.
You can use this same concept to be more consistent. Say you want to be a more consistent writer. Set time aside for it, and plan it in your schedule every day. And if it’s really important to you, then make writing the first task of your day. This is the best way to make sure it will get done.
Eventually, writing will become second nature. Then you can continue this habit consistently without much effort.
Key #4: Don’t Look Down
One of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done was bungee jumping. I was fine as they lifted me up in the air. Then I did the one thing you’re not supposed to do on thrill rides. I looked down. I freaked out as soon as I saw how far the fall would be: 150 feet.
Don’t focus on how far you have to go to accomplish your goals. This will paralyze you and discourage you from being consistent. Focus on the present moment and enjoy the process.
Key #5: Get Back Up
Don’t let one bad day turn into a bad week, one bad week turn into a bad month, and a bad month turn into a bad year. If you fall off the bandwagon, take a moment, feel the pain, cry about it, and be angry if you need to. Then take it as a lesson and forgive yourself.
Get back on the bandwagon as soon as possible. Don’t let small failures discourage you.
Keep in mind: the only way to fail is if you stop trying.