Why consistency is so important for our life goals

There are many things we want in life – a healthier body, better sleep, improved skills or a greater income.

Sometimes getting these things can feel impossible. When we try something like a new diet, we can quickly feel discouraged when we don’t see progress. And when we don’t see progress, we tend to give up.

Take learning a language: it can be very daunting starting from a complete beginner level. We have to build layers of grammar and vocabulary to form coherent sentences. When we see a native speaker do it so effortlessly, it can make us feel like we aren’t achieving anything at all. The comparison with others can make us lose sight of the smaller gains we are making.

Most of our skills were built over a longer period of time. Our life experience demonstrates this. It took us years to learn to talk, but we forget the learning journey we undertook as toddlers. Learning a new language is no different. Even Olympic cyclists fell off their bikes multiple times as kids.

Consistency above all will get you much further towards the things you want. I am not telling you something you do not already know.

Whilst the temptation is to often look for the ‘easy wins’ or shortcuts, these rarely, if ever exist. If we want something that we do not already have, chances are that they are not things that can be attained quickly. After all, if it were quick and easy we would have got these things already.

Consistency is both easy and difficult. It is easy because we know what to do, and how to do it. But the challenge is doing it regularly, even when we don’t want to.

What I’ve found recently is how powerfully cognitive dissonance can kick in. I’ve stagnated with my weight loss in the last two weeks. For a moment, I asked myself whether the method I’m using was really working. Although I had lost some weight, the lack of results made me wonder whether this method had now run its course. I spent some time looking up the answer online of what was causing the stagnation. According to the online chats, perhaps the early weight loss was just water weight. Maybe it was time to switch to something else, or push myself harder.

A few days later I realised I was not being honest with myself. When I look back I had been going out more and eating far less healthy food than before. When I gave myself a dose of radical honesty, I realised that this was not the method’s fault, instead it was my commitment to the method that was lacking.

Our goals don’t live in siloes either. My sleep quality has also worsened – mainly due to my use (read: overuse) of my phone and social media. The knock on effect has meant I’m more tired, with far lower willpower. I’ve been more irritable and anxious, which is when I tend to eat far worse.

In the last few days, I’ve recommitted to eating better. And surprise, the results came back. As I got back into the habit, my willingness to keep it up has also returned. The temptation to eat poorly has reduced.

Consistency is understanding that even when we fall off track (which we inevitably will) we are able to get back on it again. If we spend time judging ourselves about why we failed, we end up descending into a cycle of despair.

So if you want change in your life, commit to a new routine.

Consistency will lead you to the greatest results in the shortest amount of time.

Sign up to receive your weekly newsletter with blogs and podcasts!

fill in for FREE workbook goodies