Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come. ~ Dwayne Johnson
When I first starting working out, a guy I really looked up to told me this simple thing. Stick to your schedule, even if you’re not feeling it go to the gym. Sometimes you’ll workout for 10 minutes and go home, but more often than not you’ll do a full workout. Either way, you worked out and kept the habit up. This was the best advice I’ve ever been given about working out and I think about it often, it has gotten me to the gym many nights when I felt like buying a donut and hitting my couch.
Being consistent is incredibly important. As a manager, while I love my superstars, but I love my consistent people even more. No matter how well you might perform, it’s no good to anyone if one day you’re amazing but the next three days you’re awful. My best employees are the ones who I can depend on to get their work done well, day after day maybe rarely being amazing, but equally, they are rarely not up to the task.
Consistency is also what builds trust between people. That friend you know you’ll hear from every couple of weeks, or even once a month, hell I have a few who I know I’ll hear from every year on my birthday. Think about it, someone may keep your biggest secret, but if they tell everyone all of your other business, do you really trust them?
One of the areas I’ve recently rediscovered consistency is with the idea of micro-habits. A quick Google search for micro habits will show you dozens of articles with titles like 12 micro habits you can do today. Let me save you a lot of time, there is a lot of research into the benefits of micro habits. The thing is, it doesn’t really matter what the activity is, as long as you repeat it consistently. The thing about micro habit development, that is different from say your New Year resolutions, is the size. Often for New Year resolutions we’ll say things like I’ll run a mile every day, I’ll do 50 push ups a day, I’ll go to the gym five days a week.
The difference with micro habit development is that you take really small bites to start. So instead of I’ll run a mile every day, I’ll run around up to the corner store and back every day. That may only be a hundred yards each way. But the goal is to be consistent and do it every day. Sure, by the end of the year, you’ve only run 40 miles, but you can look at it the other way as well. First, you ran 40 miles you wouldn’t have run. Second, you’ve established the habit of running every day, so it’s much easier to extend your distance, than it is to start a new habit of running. This works for so many things, drinking less coffee, swearing, weight lifting. Drink three cups of coffee a day? Cut down to two and a half. And of course, you don’t have to wait a whole year before you step up. So, you could cut down the half cup for three months, then have one full and two half cups for a time, etc…
I’ve been using this technique for a number of things, I’ve used it to get far more consistent about flossing, about walking daily and doing crunches. I had tried from time to time to consistently do crunches daily. I’ve done well for a time doing 40 or 50 a day, but each time it burns out. So I started doing 10 a day and after about three months, I have stepped up to 20 and will soon be stepping up to 30. With my running, I started one day a week, running 100 meter portions of the track on four laps, I’m now up to running 2 miles, twice a week.
The important things is, I don’t reward myself for the bigger achievements. If I’m not feeling it, I might not run the full 2 miles on a day. But I reward myself for running, that way the motivation and reward is focused on the consistency, not the achievement. And I feel a lot better about myself when I focus on things in this way.
And of course, you can use this to be happier. Does eating chocolate make you happy, reward yourself each day with a small piece of chocolate. And you can do this with a drink, a quick bath, a few minutes of aromatherapy, reading, a little time in nature or a moment of silence. Try it and have ever growing happier days my friends. ~ Rev Kane