I was feeling a little alliterative as I wrote my subject line this morning. Ok. It wasn’t this morning anymore it was a week ago. Which actually illustrates what I am about to talk about…
You know if you read just about any book, article, post, meme, or whatever on goal setting, habit-forming, self-improvement, success or achievement, consistency is cited as one of, if not the primary factor in reaching your objectives.
I can’t argue with this at all. This is something that everyone seems to agree on. Be consistent and good things will eventually follow.
I pretty much agree 100%.
But, if you have been following this blog since late 2015, you can attest to the truth. I am not consistent. There, I said it. I AM NOT CONSISTENT. In fact, a quick look in the archives on drjeffvanmeter.com will show that I have these spurts of writing and then a few (or several) weeks (months? I hope not!) with nothing. Then, I’ll write a post about how I was busy with this thing or that thing. I’m resolving to do better, and so forth and so on… blah, blah, blah. And I resolve not to make this post one of those!
Then, I heard my sister-in-law telling a mutual friend about this very blog and she said something along the lines of, “Yeah, Jeff posts on there every so often. It’s good stuff. You should subscribe.” There is a key phrase here that kills me, “every so often.” Ugh!
“Oh, that’s ok Jeff. You’re busy. It’s no big deal.” Actually, it is a big deal. It’s a big deal for me, and it should be a big deal for you. Well, not a big deal whether I post or not. I would hate for your life to hinge on my every word.
But it’s a big deal because the productivity gurus are correct. Consistency IS one of THE most important aspects of successful change and progress.
So why am I not more consistent? For that matter, why aren’t you? Here are 3 reasons to consider:
#1. It is hard. I started this a week ago and am just getting back to it now.
#2. You believe it should only take 3 weeks (or less) to establish a consistent habit.
#3. You think you have to be perfect.
Well, of course, it’s hard. The only habit that comes naturally is doing nothing. Why is watching television so much easier than exercise? Because exercise requires effort, television is easy. My kids will lay on the couch and not even reach for the remote because “It’s too much work.” So, I devised an ingenious solution. I keep the remote in my hand.
Ok, seriously, consistent exercise requires consistent effort. I hate to be cliche, but if it were easy, then everyone would do it. This is true for any worthwhile goal. So yes, it will be hard. Accept that as fact and do it anyway. I will post this today, April 10, 2018!
Now, there are ways to “trick yourself” into doing the hard stuff and they can help to get started. But the number one way to press on when things are difficult is to remember the reason you wanted to make the change in the first place. Why did you want to do the hard thing? Consistently work out to prevent heart disease or start a blog to change lives (or how leaders lead perhaps). So, remember the why and press into it.
The second reason consistency is hard is because of the 21-day myth. I don’t know who started the idea that it takes 21 days to form a habit, but it is total bunk. The best research indicates that is it closer to 70 days. Wait, 70 days?! Yeah, 70 days. That is more than 2 months before not doing something is less comfortable than doing the thing. So, debunk the myth of 21 days, commit to 70 flipping days of doing that hard thing so it becomes a habit for you.
And #3, you think you have to be perfect. I would say that this is my biggest challenge. Truth is, all 3 are big challenges for me. I don’t like the hard thing, I don’t like the 70-day rule, and of course, it has to be perfect. I fight all 3, every day. And some days I win and some days I lose. I smell of wine and cheap perfume… sorry, a little sidetrack there.
Anyway, if you want to change something, anything, do the hard thing for 70 days, keep reminding yourself why you’re doing it, and just be good enough, not perfect.
And whatever you do, Don’t stop believin’… Couldn’t resist.
Hey, if you want more inconsistent insights from me, Click here. If the link didn’t work, go to www.drjeffvanmeter.com and put your email in. Might as well, don’t cost nuthin’.