By: Cordelia Bloom
Before jumping into the article, please enjoy this piece written by poet Tete Rudo in the 21st century, titled Inch by Inch:
Growth in any worthwhile endeavor
But when managed incrementally
The result is enduring
Consistency is the key.
The Master of consistency is
Just take a leaf from Her book.
Consistency needs no talent
Consistency needs no skill
Consistency needs no money.
All it needs is a commitment
To show up
And do the work wholeheartedly
Each and every day.
Consistency costs much
But pays well
To Be or Not to Be Consistent
It’s a complex word and even more difficult task—to most of us, anyway. Consistency has many meanings, but today, we’ll be focusing on only one of them. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as the harmony of conduct or practice with profession (n.d.).
In most cases, we don’t necessarily have a hard time responding about being somewhere on time, accepting or declining an invitation, or remembering to feed our fur babies, right? We couldn’t possibly forget to turn off our vehicles once we arrived at a destination, or brush our teeth in the morning, or tie our shoelaces—wouldn’t you agree? This is all rather routine-like, yes, but it’s seemingly easier to keep up with these day-to-day details or functions.
Why is it so hard then to go to the gym every day, read 10 pages of a book before bedtime, or make a savory meal for dinner (instead of fixing up a quick sandwich or cereal)? That’s the whole point with consistency—it means accountability on our persona, on us. It means taking those additional 10 minutes to make the perfect cup of coffee. It’s keeping a promise to ourselves, not to others; it’s being intentional. So why is it so hard to maintain it?
The lack of patience, clarity, and focus, not having supporting habits, and (or) having an “all or nothing” mindset are contributing factors as to why most people have trouble being consistent (Raman, 2019). And additionally, society nowadays (more than ever), has taught our mind to hound for distractions and instant gratifications, rather than actually putting in work and effort toward a goal or a challenge. And therein lies the main conflict as to why we rather act or commit to something quick, even though it may not entirely be factored into what we’d really want to accomplish long term.
Let’s be honest here—if it doesn’t come easily, we sit and think more about it, right? We must encourage ourselves to shift this mindset and focus more on the future, the big picture.
By being consistent, we can overcome adversity in life. With it, we’d be better equipped to deal with major difficulties and setbacks, and we’d be prompted to learn and grow because of them instead of in spite of.
A Vital Habit
It can be difficult to stay consistent—especially when it’s with things we don’t particularly enjoy—but it’s certainly attainable. The key is to decide to start something and then commit to it. Even though it can be hard to stick with it at first, in time it’d become easier—like Bruce Lee’s famous saying goes, “Practice makes perfect. After a long time of practicing, our work will become natural, skillful, swift, and steady.”
This is an excellent way to reset our perspective, too. The following tips below can help guide us in staying consistent when it comes to setting up goals (Deanna, 2023):
- Make it easy and keep a schedule—the easier, the more likely we’ll keep up with it. And block a timeframe for it every day.
- Use habit stacking and place reminders—add something new to an existing habit, like for instance, if you want to increase how much you read, then try reading 10 pages before bedtime. And setup a reminder for it too, just in case.
- Reward yourself and remember your long-term goals—there is nothing wrong with treating ourselves! And never forget about the big picture.
- Get an accountability partner—have someone hold you accountable with your goals.
- Have a backup plan—what happens when suddenly your day cannot go as planned?
- Check-in with yourself and track your progress—sometimes we need a reality check and, the fact is, we don’t know what the day can bring. By checking-in and tracking progress, we’re able to stay motivated and understand how far we have come. No need to be so hard on ourselves.
If we want to see change, we must be consistent. Plus, there are so many benefits that come along with it! By staying consistent, we achieve more goals by putting in the effort every day. We also become more productive, reliable, and end up developing better and healthier habits. By doing the same thing repeatedly, sooner or later, it becomes a part of us. Most importantly, with consistency at hand, we would become wholeheartedly happier (Rothwell, 2022).
Start Off by Journaling to Obtain Consistency
Journals are like power tools for life. They help us process our thoughts and emotions, make good decisions, reach our goals, and, most importantly, allow us to express what’s navigating inside of us. Journals don’t have to be perfect: they can be senseless rants, a thought process, a dream, anything at all. There is no right or wrong way to journal.
When life starts to get a little too extra rowdy, it’s important for us to take a pause and remember the big picture of what we’re working toward. We must remind ourselves what it is, hold on tight to consistency and trust in the process—because that’s the magic that’ll help us get to where we want to be.
Deanna, a guru on all things personal development and lifestyle, recommends using the following journal prompts to improve our “consistency muscle” (2023):
- What helps you stay on track?
- When do you tend to give up?
- Write about one goal and go into detail about why you want to achieve it, how your life would improve, and how you’d feel if you didn’t achieve it.
- What gets you excited and motivated? What distracts you?
- Write down 3 things you’re proud of doing this week regarding your goals and your progress.
Consistency allows for measurement and creates accountability; it also makes us relevant. The hardest part about consistently journaling is deciding what to write about. It’s not always easy. This is the main reason as to why journaling prompts exist—to inspire, motivate, and push us in getting started.
Patience is the second ingredient to be used here. It takes time to see results, right? And although motivation and inspiration may come and go, consistency is always there. Consistency breeds habit, and once a habit is formed, it’s easier to stick to it (Rothwell, 2022).
If you were to commit to one thing and stay consistent to it, what would it be? Click the link below to begin journaling and share your thoughts with The Love Story, a safe and supportive writing community that welcomes all.
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Consistency. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved September 14, 2023, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/consistency
Deanna. (2023, April 14). How to stay consistent with your goals (with journal prompts). Life by Deanna. https://lifebydeanna.com/how-to-stay-consistent-with-your-goals-with-journal-prompts/#:~:text=Write%20about%20one%20goal%20and,you%20didn’t%20achieve%20it.
Joy. (2023, August 10). The importance of being consistent. Organized with Joy. https://organizedwithjoy.com/2023/08/10/the-importance-of-being-consistent/
Raman, N. (2019, July 16). 5 Reasons why consistency is an important habit. Neel Raman. https://neelraman.com/5-reasons-why-consistency-is-an-important-habit/
Rothwell, B. (2022, April 21). The power of consistency: Why consistency is better than motivation alone. The Busy Beck. https://www.thebusybeck.com/the-power-of-consistency-why-consistency-is-better-than-motivation-alone/
Rudo, T. (2019, January). Inch by inch. Hello Poetry. https://hellopoetry.com/poem/2954144/inch-by-inch/