The primary variable to creating consistent results over time is your ability (and your willingness) to consistently do the work necessary to produce the results you seek. Constant effort produces consistent results, while inconsistent effort brings sporadic results–if it provides any at all. Here is how you improve your consistency and the results that naturally follow.
Routines and Subroutines
You make consistency easier when you commit to routines that work, eliminating any deviance that would reduce or eliminate your ability to produce the results you want.
Most people wake up, grab their phone, and start checking email and the social channels. When their eyes open and their feet hit the floor, they have no plan for their day, and they have no idea what outcomes they will or won’t produce. Instead, they review emails, looking for something to do. This poor routine is what ensures you are unproductive and that you will never reach the goals you profess to want; your behavior says it’s not true.
You correct this behavior by adopting routines that act as guard rails, preventing you from getting off track by having eliminated any need to decide what you are going to do each day. A smart planning routine to design the coming week eliminates any decision about what you need to do and when you are going to do it. Time-blocking for your most essential outcomes firewalls your time, protecting it from the distractions that would steal your time—and your goals along with it.
Your morning routine sets up a successful day. Your planning routine ensures you do the right work each day, and your evening routine prepares you for the next day.
Learn to Love the Process
You may have heard an aphorism that goes, “Everyone wants to go to Heaven. No one wants to die.” The dying part precedes the part where you go to Heaven.
The common denominator you find in people who don’t have what they want is that they are not willing to “die.” For our purposes here, they are not willing to do the work consistently enough to produce the results they suggest they want, even when their actions betray them. You will have no trouble finding memes on the internet suggesting you trust the process.
Trusting the process isn’t going to produce results; falling in love with the process, so much so that you execute every day, is a much better directive here.
By falling in love with the process, you do the work. When you do the work long enough, and with enough consistency, the results you want start to appear. Maintaining those results is a matter of persistence and a love of the process. I have heard writers suggest that they hate writing but love having written, one being Heaven, and the other resembling dying.
Front-Load Your Day
There is research that suggests your willpower, your self-discipline, is greater earlier in the day and fades as the day goes on, and your energy goes through troughs. Others believe that willpower is a muscle, and the more you exercise it, the stronger it grows.
One way to improves your consistency is starting your day using your best and strongest energy on what’s most important first, front-loading your day. By doing what is necessary first, you not only make it easier because your enthusiasm and commitment are at their highest point. You also ensure that the work gets done and that you have a productive day.
Over time, the consistent routine of doing what needs to be done first will eliminate any resistance you might feel. At some point, you burn in the habit so deeply you do what you need to do without a second thought, without being distracted, and without fail. If you are a night owl, backload your day if that provides you with the ability to improve your consistency.
Keeping score is another way to maintain your consistency. You might keep a calendar with how you did each day, crossing off days when you did what you needed to do. There are journals and habit tracking apps designed to allow you to capture your consistency, all of which provide additional motivation, and more importantly, a sense of accountability to self.
A good scorecard doesn’t have to capture only your results. When you are building consistency, you claim credit for taking action, doing the work, knowing that the results will follow. A scorecard on activity is more important when your goal is something longer term, or when it is a discipline you intend to maintain over the course of your life, like the goal of having impeccable health and well-being, or wealth creation.
Keeping score on your consistency and your results provide you with a way to monitor your effort and your results and make any adjustments necessary to improve both.
Get Back on the Horse
What happens if you fall off the horse? What do you do when you are inconsistent, missing days and weeks of doing the right thing? For many people, they judge themselves as having failed, giving up on themselves and their goal. Successful people, those who eventually succeed in building consistency, drop the self-judgment, forgive themselves, and start again.
There will be external events that make it more challenging to be consistent. Some days you won’t feel your best and sill struggle to do the work, and what you do won’t live up to your standard.
Consistency means you do your best, and when you can’t, you do your best the next day, and the day after that.
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Filed under: Mindset