Life is like a box of… gardening tools?
Hear me out… a garden really is a great metaphor for life and the importance of consistency.
Imagine a garden that gets watered once per month. What would happen?
Not only will everything dehydrate in the dry spells, once you do water it it’ll drown in a month’s supply of water.
No, a garden needs to be watered regularly and consistently.
And so it is with life.
People usually picture success as grand moments of inspiration and motivation, but that’s because it’s what gets attention in movies and in the press. A one-in-a-million story sure makes for some great entertainment, but it makes a lousy plan.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to pin my hopes and dreams on a one-in-a-million shot.
But if consistency is so great, why are people so obsessed with intensity?
Aside from the coverage, it’s because intensity is easily measured whereas consistency takes time.
That’s why getting in shape is tough… if you exercise for 5 hours and look in the mirror, you’ll see no difference. If you eat right for a day… nothing. The first day of learning guitar is frustrating and miserable. It seems useless.
In the short term, doing the little things that are necessary for success often don’t show any results at all. So people give up. They quit. And their potential goes unfulfilled. They don’t realize that success is just ahead if they stick with it.
As with most things that have to do with success, it’s simple… but not easy.
It’s tough to get started, but, ironically, once you get going a life built on good habits is actually much easier.
“There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision, and for whom the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed every day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of express volitional deliberation.”
– William James
Getting back to the gardening theme for a moment – imagine trying to pull on plants to get them to grow. Pull too hard or move too fast, and you’ll wind up pulling the plant out of the ground and killing it.
In the same way, your goals need to grow at a natural pace. it’s the daily practice of consistency that, over time, blooms into success.
There’s no doubt about it…
Consistency is the secret to success.
Great… now that we know that where do we go from here?
Everyone feels down or lazy at some point. Nobody feels like making the right choice all of the time. So how can we achieve consistency?
One secret weapon at your disposal is to make as many decisions as possible while you’re at your best.
For instance, let’s say you want to stop polishing off an entire bag of Cheetos when you’re stressed. While you’re being rational, you can give yourself an advantage by not buying them in the first place.
Buy something healthier instead. That way when you get stressed, you can’t eat a bag of Cheetos without driving all the way to the store.
The point is, when you’re at your best, make it easier to make good choices later and harder to make bad choices.
If you want to run in the morning. Have your shoes and clothes ready to go.
If you want to stop sleeping in. Set an alarm and put the alarm clock (or phone) across the room.
By making your future choices ahead of time when you’re at your best, you set yourself up for success.
We all have limited will power. Rather than fighting with yourself all day, use that energy to make small choices that’ll make it easier for you to succeed.
Over time, it gets easier and easier to make the right choices. In fact, it’s automatic.
Remember, once you form a habit, your mind is actually more comfortable doing it than not. Whereas motivational bursts are based on a jolt of energy sufficient to force you to get moving, habits are more like setting your life on cruise control toward success. It’s a much more relaxing and reliable path to success.
We don’t rise to our goals, we sink to our habits.
Remember that, and you’ll be on your way to the top.
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Keep in mind that if you ever find yourself saying “I already know this”, instead ask “What can I learn from this?” and make sure you’re actually applying it in your daily life.
By adopting the right mindsets, you build the foundation for a better life.
Until next time… Do. Learn. Repeat.