Did you ever notice how in today’s world, consistency is almost a “bad” word? We have become so focused on wanting things now that we have lost the simple discipline of taking one small step at a time, and the art of doing small things over and over again until they become a well-grounded habit. But I am a big believer in small steps, so I decided to publish this post for you.
Consistently building new habits leads to personal breakthroughs that wouldn’t happen otherwise. You can look at it as the special glue that makes you stick to something until you get there. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes…SUPER GLUE! You will begin to notice that you can stay focused on what is needed over and over with less effort, thereby changing outcomes on many different levels.
Think on the areas of your life where you have been successful: graduating high school or college, marriage maybe, career, raising kids, volunteer work. Can you see how your consistency in these areas was part of the reason for your success? The end result might be glamorous, yet the consistent everyday work that was involved was not; to tell the truth, it probably was often menial, and maybe boring, requiring a lot of discipline and seemingly unimportant. Yet you are the sum of those small acts and thoughts…
Small acts count greatly; small thoughts can cause you to quit or go forward. Nothing small is irrelevant!
Do you ever get frustrated when someone else leaps out in front of you and seems to be starting fast and so successfully? I know I have! But at the end, it’s the end that counts, isn’t it? While many people get gung ho about new goals or achievements and charge out of the gate in an explosion of activity, it eventually flares out. Meanwhile, while maybe not as flamboyant of a start, a commitment to ongoing consistency will usually not only catch them but leave them in the dust every time.
I believe in staying consistent. Lack of consistency is the subtle but great stealer of dreams and desires. The stop and start process kills progress in any pursuit. It is probably one of the greatest reasons why people don’t ultimately achieve their goals, thus end up living a life of continuous discontent, frustration and disappointment. Remember the tortoise and the hare?
The single discipline that gives the advantage to beat anybody at almost anything is consistency.
Think of a hand-pumped water well. The water table is, let’s say, 25 feet below the ground. A pipe runs down to the water table and you have to pump the lever to create the suction to get the water above the ground and out the spout. Here is what many people do when they start a new endeavor: they grab the lever and start pumping really hard… they pump and pump, and after a few minutes (or a few weeks), they don’t see any water (results), so they give up the lever altogether. We, as Western 21st century humans, often expect instant results. And many of us quit before the success ever begins. But here is the bottom line: if you persevere and continue to pump and pump the lever, eventually you’ll get a few drops of water. This is when some of you will say, “You’ve got to be kidding! All this pumping and for what, a few drops of water, forget it.” But those of you who continue to pump soon enough will get a full and steady stream of water. And now that the water is flowing, you will no longer need to pump the lever as hard. It becomes easy and you can keep the pressure steady by just pumping the lever CONSISTENTLY.
But what happens if you let go of the lever for 30 seconds or so? Yep, you got it: no success! And this is exactly what happens if you don’t strap on your gym shoes for a week or two. The water falls below the ground and you are back to square one again. To just get back where you were, you have to pump the lever like crazy again. But if you’d just kept a consistent, easy, even stroke, you could have kept the water (success) flowing.
It’s not how we start; it’s how we CONTINUE.
The definition of commitment is: Doing the thing you said you were going to do, long after the mood you said it in has left you.