In every article I post I always think about two things:
What can I pull from that I’ve learned with my own experience on the journey to mastering consistency?
How can I use that experience to help others remain more consistent in their lives and achieve their goals?
One such method is putting a plan together to help you remain more consistent.
Now when I mention this it may seem a bit unusual when speaking about consistency. This is something most people never think about in trying to be more consistent and developing good habits (to be honest I didn’t either at first). You typically just decide to be more consistent, get up, and get going. However, this approach may actually lessen your chances of being consistent.
What happens when you don’t plan for Consistency?
I want you to think about a few things for a moment. Don’t you plan most of your life? If you are working on a project at work don’t you have a plan from start, through execution, to end? If you’re planning to take a trip don’t you plan for it, especially what you will need, where you will go and how you will get there? If you are having a party or a wedding don’t you plan for it as well? Even if you are having a baby there’s a plan for that too.
What happens when you don’t plan? Well pretty much you can say it’s almost guaranteed things will go crazy, will fall apart and end up in a complete disaster. Well I want you think of consistency in the same way. If you don’t plan for consistency it will go crazy, fall apart, and end in complete disaster. Leaving you once again with feelings of low self-esteem and self-image because once again you failed to be consistent in something or achieve a particular goal you have.
How to be more consistent by planning for it
Let me share with you what I have done that has helped me. I’m assuming you’ve already identified what area of your life you want to remain consistent in so I won’t get into that.
Know WHY it is important to remain consistent in this area (and write it down). What is your emotionally compelling reason for sticking with it. If you don’t have this first element everything else falls apart, because it will be easy to make excuses and justify why you can’t do it today. Whatever isn’t of value to you isn’t priority for you
Know what time of the day is best for you to do the activity. Many people don’t think about this part, but what I have found is different routines work better during different times of the day depending on your temperament or nature. For example, for me I can’t read or work out in the morning as I wake up. There are many who suggest doing this as the first part of starting your day. However, for me I’m not a morning person, so my mental energy is EXTREMELY low when I wake up. Therefore, it would take a lot more for me to push against my nature to get it done versus doing it in the afternoon when mentally I’m more alert and energized.
So if my brain believes doing these two activities in the morning is causing me too much pain and effort to do, it will find creative ways for me to avoid doing them. It’s the same with you. Know when is the best time for you to do certain activities, based on your temperament. It’s NOT about when you get it done, the important thing is to get it done and remain consistent each day.
Know how many days and which days per week will you do the activity. This is also important in remaining consistent. Making a commitment to yourself as to when you will do the activity and sticking with it will train your brain to expect to do X activity on Days A, B, C, D. You know your schedule best and when works best for you so schedule accordingly. The important thing is not when you do the activity, but remaining committed, consistent, and disciplined with the days you decide on. I will mention though that the more days you can do the activity in a week, the more likely it is you will remain consistent.
Know where you will do this activity. This is just as important as Number 2 for two reasons:
Some environments are more conducive for certain routines, again depending on your temperament. You may find exercising at home increases the chances you will get it done than at the gym. It could be you find the gym is better for you because you will be in an environment where others are working out as well
Once you decide which environment works best for you it’s also important to stick with THAT specific environment. The first time attempting to be consistent in an activity, the brain will pay attention to certain triggers in that environment. This means your brain will record the feelings the environment creates, the lighting, how warm or cold it is, even how you breathe in this environment (seriously!). Then it will make a mental recording. For your brain this will be the customary environment it has now link your specific routine to.
Think for a minute. Don’t you notice that you can be in a particular environment and be completely focused on your work. Then you can leave that environment and move to another and all of a sudden you find it difficult to concentrate, even though you were doing so effortless before? That’s because your brain linked that particular activity with a particular environment after consistently performing the routine in it. So wherever you choose to be consistent with your routine, ensure it’s somewhere you can recreate the specific conditions. At the very least be somewhere that even if you can’t control the environment, the environment won’t change
Know what Trigger or Cue you will use to let you know to do the activity. In the S.T.A.R.S.TechniqueTM training video I mentioned what a Trigger or Cue is and its purpose. Basically, it’s a way to let your brain know it’s time to do the activity. Think of a trigger as the flashing/vibrating/tone on your phone when a message comes in to let your brain know “See this? It means check your phone now”.
There are different types of Triggers and you have to know the one that works best for you. The most popular Trigger is a time. This is where an alarm goes off letting you know it’s time for you to do the routine. However, as I said know what works best for you. For me a time Trigger never usually works as I always ignore it, but an emotional Trigger does. So for example when I start feeling lazy about working out, my brain uses that as the Trigger to let me know “Get up and exercise now!”
Know what reward or benefit you will get for doing the activity. This is different from the end result, the end result is the ultimate reward. However, because we as human beings crave instant gratification, you need sort of an interim reward that satisfies that craving. At least until you get to the big reward. The reward doesn’t have to be anything grand. Something as simple as celebrating and congratulating yourself for doing it is VERY effective. Just hearing the words “You did it! You’re amazing! You’re becoming more consistent every day!” coming directly from you with energy and excitement will create enough of a high for you to want to do it again. Just so you can feel those amazing feelings of accomplishment once again
Next Action Step
Go through The 6 Step Process to Achievement video that will help you identify your goals and one action step you can take daily towards achieving it
Go through each of the 6 points in this post writing down your answer for each in-line with your goal
Take small and simple action
These strategies may seem a bit tedious to do in order to be more consistent. The easier thing to do is to forget all of this and just get started. Though I agree to getting started right away and not procrastinate, taking 30 minutes just to think and write them down will save you the heartbreak of missing days later on. Take it from the person who struggled with being consistent for decades (not just years), this strategy REALLY helps!
Even though I only emphasize writing out Number 1, you should write out the answers to all of these points. When you design exactly and clearly your plan for being consistent, you will find it to help SIGNIFICANTLY in being more consistent.
To your success my friend!
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