Being consistent is arguably one of the most difficult things to master — regardless of what type of goal you’re trying to reach. Being unable to “keep up with it” is a major cause of why most of us fail. Today I’m going to discuss some tactics that you can use to help you be consistent and reach your goals.
Whether you want to lose weight or reach a new financial goal in your business, you’re going to have some new behaviors that you need to put in place. Behaviors that you have to do on a consistent basis to succeed. From meal prepping to marketing, new behaviors can be difficult to put into our daily lives.
Habits don’t form (or break) over night and building new ones can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days (!!!) to build. It sounds inconceivable for it to take that long, but when you remember that driving is a habit, and you think about how complicated that is — it starts to make sense.
Our brains are capable of turning almost any action into a habit. And a habit doesn’t take much thought or planning — it is the ultimate goal in the consistency machine. If you can get yourself to do that behavior regularly enough, you can make it a habit.
But 254 days is the better part of a year – and even if it only takes half of that, we’re talking 4 months here. That’s a long time when you might want to give up at the end of your first week. So what’s a gal to do when she’s got goals, but not the willpower to dig down and force herself to be consistent?
Well if this is something that you’ve tried in the past and it hasn’t worked out, the first thing to do is check out this post and evaluate whether you’ve done a good job creating the goal. Then if this goal happens to be a resolution that you’re full of excitement to get started, check out this post. Resolutions have a certain energy behind that can be harnessed to jump start a goal. Once that wears off then it’s time to move onto the tactics below to keep you consistent.
While I hate this word for all its business jargon tendencies this time it is accurate — you are going to need systematize your goal. You need to do everything you can to make doing that behavior every day (or week) as easy as possible. While you might be super excited the first few times, eventually that’s going to wear off and you’re going to have to find ways to do it even when you can’t muster the strength to do so.
Systems are the things that are going to get you through that slump on the way to making this activity a habit.
Some of the best advice I’ve heard is to only focus on one behavior change at a time until it becomes a habit, then move onto the next one. The reason for this is because in order to get through these rough patches where you don’t have the wherewithal to do the behavior, you need to create a culture around the action. It needs to be a HUGE part of your lifestyle until you’ve fully integrated it.
In order to do this you need to surround yourself with your new goal at every turn. Put up pictures or other reminders to keep it top of mind. Surround yourself with people that also have the same goal AND get the rest of the people in your life to help cheer you on.
Make a routine around it to help build those triggers and rewards that make your habit loop possible. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out this post for more info.
Speaking of routines, if you can get your new habit into an existing routine — like morning or night — you’ll up your chances of completing it. Nothing builds a habit more than chaining it to other similar habits.
PLAN FOR PITFALLS
I don’t know about you but growing up I was under the impression that quicksand was going to be a bigger problem that it has turned out to be. And while I’ve never actually encountered quicksand, at least all those years worrying about it led to me learn how to deal with it should the situation ever occur.
And while your goals are unlikely to be derailed by quicksand, you will probably encounter plenty of other pitfalls along the way. Even if your plan seems ironclad right now, you still need to anticipate the inevitable obstacles life will throw at you.
What are you going to do WHEN you fall off the wagon? Notice I didn’t say IF. If you’re reading this you’re human, and humans make mistakes. We can fall off and choose to jump back on or get stuck in a slump. And in the mighty words of Dr. Seuss “unslumping yourself is not easily done”.
Having an IF/THEN plan helps you through these tough times. For example, if you’ve lost focus for the day have a plan about how to get it back. Maybe that involves calling a friend or mentor to help you get back on track. If you had a few more cookies than expected this weekend, make sure you’ve got healthy food ready to go for the week to keep you on track.
Other ways to get yourself back on track might include a mantra, exercise (physical or mental), affirmation, vision board, bracelet or other similar talisman. Try things out and find something that works for you.
By doing your best to anticipate the pitfalls and then plan how you will deal with them ahead of time, you will save critical time and energy in your moments of weakness. That will allow you to quickly get yourself back on track.
If you still think you can (or should) follow through on your goal perfectly then you need to check out this post and this one.
DO IT ANYWAY
Spoiler alert! You’re probably going to have a LOT of times when you don’t feel like taking action. You’re tired, it’s boring, you’re too busy, you don’t wanna’! I get it. Motivation is a fickle, fleeting feeling and if we only take action when we feel like it, not much is going to get accomplished.
In fact if I waited until I felt like it, the dishes would pile up until I died. True story.
The key with this is to keep your eye on the prize. What’s your reason for having this goal anyway? What do you get when you achieve it? Not what you accomplish by doing this one action today — but in the grander scheme of things. Keeping in touch with your why will help generate feelings of motivation which will make doing your actions a little easier.
But what if you are motivated, but you’re bogged down in self doubt? Every time you go to take action you start second guessing yourself. You’re ready to go, you’re motivated by the possible outcome, but you’re worried your actions are wrong.
The thing is, how will you know if you don’t try? For example, I couldn’t say definitively that Instagram as a marketing tool wasn’t going to work for me until I was consistently posting — like every resource I found told me to do. I kept stopping myself because what if I spent all this time and energy trying it out and it didn’t work.
The time is going to pass anyway, and you could put your energy into binge watching Game of Thrones but that’s not going to get you the results that you’re looking for either.
In this case you need to push past the self doubt feelings and just go for it. Pick something and move forward. Then once you’ve been consistent with your action for awhile you can evaluate the results.
By the time you do this you will have likely achieved some sort of side benefit and learned a lot along the way.
Take the example of weight lifting. Many a woman fears that she might get “too bulky” if she lifts. But maybe nothing else has been working for you. Certainly no harm can come from being stronger and having some more muscle, so why not try for 3 months and see what happens?
If at the end it’s not for you, then at least you learned something about yourself that you wouldn’t have learned if you just second guessed your efforts over the course of those three months.
Being consistent is the key to achieving all the results that you want out of life — even when you don’t feel like taking action. These tactics can help you keep consistent with your actions and deal with the times when you feel like you just can’t.
If you’re struggling to achieve your goals or be consistent with them, please contact me. Coaching helps with setting goals, overcoming challenges, and taking the action needed to get you to your dreams.