Consistency In Pursuit of Goals
This month we’ll be addressing the idea of consistency.
While describing setting specific goals are excellent steps toward achieving the things we want in our life, we may experience disappointment if that planning is not coupled with consistency. When we are consistent we are acting in the present moment with the future goal as our guide and we are repeating helpful behaviors and thoughts while we build upon them toward our goal. There are some things to keep in mind as we try to act in a consistent manner. Below you will find some tips to make consistency work for you as you work toward your goals.
Tips For Staying Consistent
As we begin a consistency practice it may be helpful to create a small routine that build on each other to help us work toward our goal. This may look like selecting one, two, or three things to do each day, every day. The important thing to consider as we begin a consistency practice is that it is okay to start small. The things we decide to do should be healthy routines, valuable and should be things we can really do every day. Examples might include: Eating three healthy meals a day, exercising for ten minutes each day, and getting a certain amount of sleep each night.
Enjoy The Process:
One way to ensure consistency is to in some way enjoy executing our plan for achieving our goal. This is often easier said than done because some parts of the plan that will eventually lead us toward our goal may feel boring or small. However, even if parts of our routine are arduous at times, it may be helpful to find parts of the process that we enjoy. For example, if we are trying to implement the use of a planner to better manage our various responsibilities, appointments, and family needs, we may find that we enjoy it more if we took the step of introducing more creativity into the process. We may use symbols or colors for certain types of events or activities (Red for work, blue for personal, etc.). By finding ways to make the less exciting parts of our plan work for us we are inviting ourselves to stay consistent again and again over the course of the journey toward our goal.
Plan For A Back Up Plan:
We know that not everything goes according to plan each day. Having a back up plan to ensure that we can remain consistent can truly help us maintain our routine and progress toward our goal. For example: If our goal is to eat three healthy meals each day but our job is one where we often experience unpredictable interruptions, we may want to pack healthy snacks or small meals that we can eat throughout the day, even if its a busy one.
Use An Accountability Partner:
Times may arise when we do not feel like doing those things that would help us to work consistently toward our goals. One way to address or prevent this move toward inconsistency is to have an accountability partner. For example: Some days we might want to skip our after-work exercise routine or have fast food instead of a healthy meal. If we have someone talk to or a person with whom to share our explanation (or excuse), it might prevent us from doing those things that hinder our progress. The other person is not present to judge, but rather to encourage and should be someone whose opinion we trust and value.
Remember That Feelings And Thoughts Are Not Permanent:
Another more mentally focused way to address or prevent a move toward inconsistency is to remind us those thoughts and feelings are temporary. Being present allows us to acknowledge thoughts or feelings without judgment. While presence is important, we may also benefit from a chance to remember our goal and the progress we’ve already made. The point of reminding ourselves that these thoughts and feelings are temporary is to eventually remind ourselves of one important idea: If its healthy, positive, and in the interest of our goal, it will serve us to do it even if we don’t feel like doing it that day.
One important step in developing consistency is to acknowledge that the process of being consistent will change us. It will, however, require us to leave behind the old thoughts about ourselves that hinder our consistency. These will come up again when we have an experience where we do not necessarily stay consistent, or where our goal seems far away. As we progress, we won’t stop working when we fall short of our daily goals. When we fall short of a goal or are not feeling accomplished we will ask ourselves what happened and how we can improve next time. We might say to ourselves, “Don’t give up! You are doing this!”
As you review these tips find one or two on which to focus for now. As you build consistency don’t forget to track your progress. By noting your progress, areas for improvement, and things that are working or not working, you can improve your process and make your plan work for you! Enjoy the process and stick with it! You are doing this!