The Power of Consistency When Working Towards a Goal
Once you have a clear picture of what success will look like for you, what’s the next step? Many times, people will have the desire to reach a goal, but for whatever reason they lose motivation along the way. I’ve seen this happen to friends, family members, and myself.
One of the best examples of getting all excited for a new goal, only to quickly stray from the path is exercise. Now, not everyone will view working out or achieving a fit physique as a success, but it serves as a good example of how easy it can be to fall short of a goal.
Growing up, my family owned a gym. Like clockwork, every January I would witness an influx of new members. They would all be highly motivated and excited, thinking this would be the year of hitting their fitness goals. Just as routine was the slimming of gym goers come February. Then in March, all that was left were the regulars who had been going to the gym for years. This pattern continued year after year.
So what’s this mean? Are some of us doomed to fail at certain goals? No, I don’t believe so. We can all achieve any reasonable goal we set for ourselves. The reason myself and countless others have run into problems has to do with the absence of one simple word…consistency.
How to Cultivate Consistency
When talking about using consistency to help you achieve a goal, I am referring to the consistent repetition of certain behaviors. A lot of the problems we run into when starting out on the journey towards a goal have to do with how big of a feat accomplishing it can seem.
This gets worse the bigger the goal. Let’s use the exercise scenario from above as an example. If you are wanting to lose weight, your ideal body image may seem so far off that you lose the motivation to keep working.
By focusing too much on the outcome, in this case losing the specified amount of weight, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Here is where consistency becomes so valuable. If you have the wish to achieve a larger goal, you must employ consistent action day in and day out.
Consistency allows you to turn your focus off the outcome of the goal and put your attention on the process that will get you there. Also, by becoming consistent, you place yourself in a better position to succeed. Now the question becomes, how do we cultivate consistency? Just because we know consistent action generates results doesn’t make it easier. Well, the answer lies in habits. Habits are actions we do on a repetitive basis. These are the essence of consistency.
When you are working towards a goal, the best thing you can do for yourself is create habits. That way, you will take a large amount of the guesswork out of the equation. Instead of wondering what you need to do, you can just trust in your habits. To show you just how powerful habits are, I want to highlight five of the greatest benefits you can expect from Implementing habits into your own journey towards a goal.
Five Benefits of Habits
Depending on your goal, the habits you build will vary. However, the benefits will remain constant no matter what your goal is and no matter what habits you employ. Now obviously, I am referring to good habits here. These benefits are going to be seen when you create repeatable actions that you trust will put you in the best position to accomplish your goal.
Benefit #1: Improves Focus
With habits comes incredible focus. Questioning how to accomplish a goal is one of the most distracting activities we can take part in. Continually going back over all the paths you think will get you there and wondering which one you should take only keeps you from actually moving closer to the goal. By setting habits, you generate focused effort each day. You have set activities you do, and so you can focus on performing them to the best of your abilities. Instead of questioning what you need to do in order to achieve your goal.
Benefit #2: Creates Priorities
Sacrifice is a common occurrence when working towards a goal. You have to be willing to put certain activities above others if you wish to succeed. How to go about setting such priorities and adhering to them is often the problem. Habits are the answer to this dilemma. When you create habits for yourself, you automatically set priorities. You have decided on the activities that will be done daily to propel you towards your goal.
Benefit #3: Builds Trust
This goes along with the previous benefit on focus. You have to start to trust yourself when working towards a goal. Action is always better than inaction, and consistent action breeds results. So, by utilizing habits, you build trust within yourself. This trust reveals itself in two ways. First, you begin to trust in the process you’ve put in place. Thus, you help to avoid overthinking and second guessing. Second, you start to trust yourself in general. You trust that you can build habits that will help you achieve your goals.
“I’ve also found that consistency has always been the major setback in my being able to successfully reach my goal within an ideal amount of time – the more inconsistent I was, the longer it would take for me to get that check mark on my task list.” – Eric Thomas
Benefit #4: Reduces Anxiety
One of the main problems I run into when working towards a goal is anxiety. I become anxious about how I will accomplish the goal, how long it will take, and what will happen if I fail? After reading the previous three benefits, it should be clear why habits reduce this type of anxiety. First, the focus habits generate allows you to give all your attention to the tasks you are doing.
Second, knowing what your priorities are helps you relax and know you are doing all that you can to achieve the goal. Third, the trust in yourself and the process you’ve put forward mean you can stop feeling anxious about your goal. You trust that you have a solid plan in place which will put you in the best position to succeed.
Benefit #5: Increases Your Odds of Success
This goes with what I said earlier regarding consistency leading to success. If you wish to achieve a goal or attain any other form of success, consistent effort must be applied. You have to keep working every day until your goal is achieved. Habits make this process automatic. Once a habit is formed, you don’t really think twice about doing it. The act has become a natural part of your life. This means you will be consistently working your way towards your goals each day.
Once you have defined the success you are after, it’s now time to put together a plan to get there. Knowing that consistent effort is required to achieve any goal, the question then becomes how to cultivate such consistency.
Habits are the best way you can ensure you put in the work every day. Identify what you need to do in order to achieve your goals, and then develop the habits that will help you get there. With such consistency, the chances of you attaining success greatly increase.