Why Consistency Trumps Intensity
Often, the resistance we experience isn’t toward the idea of doing something hard.
We can all do hard things. The real resistance that we feel, is actually, sustaining effort over time.
For instance, If I asked you to bench press 45 lbs., five times in one workout, chances are you could do that, maybe even easily. But if I asked you to bench press 45 lbs., five times a day, for the next month, I could confidently bet against your ability to achieve this relatively simple goal.
Because consistent effort over time is hard.
You know you can lift that 45 lbs., but arranging your schedule to make sure that it happens for a full month and then keeping to that schedule requires consistency, not just intensity. That ability to remain consistent is what I would bet against.
Consistency is the real measurement of success.
What does a lazy entrepreneur, struggling with consistency, do?
Here 9 Ways to Create More Consistency Over Time:
1.) Be Deliberate
Malcolm Gladwell famously claimed that anyone could achieve mastery of anything with 10,000 hours of practice. He wrote about this, “10,000 Hour Rule,” in his book, "Outliers: The Story of Success." While Ericsson was flattered that Gladwell cited his research, he publicly corrected the author shortly after the book was published saying that it wasn’t just the 10,000 hours of work that created mastery, itt was 10,000 hours of the RIGHT work.
To achieve our goals and be more consistent, we must first identify and systemize the RIGHT work.
We must be deliberate in our practice, and this deliberate practice that creates mastery.
2.) Create Specific and Realistic Goals
Creating goals often sound something like, "acquire one new client this month,” or “reach out to five new prospects each week.”
For example, if you are a new coach who has only one or two paying clients, and you make the ambitious goal of “five new clients this month.” it's simply too big and unrealistic if you know you can realistically only get one new client a month. The result from that lofty of a goal is defeat.
Specific and realistic goals, are the key to success.
Even goals that seem “too easy,” are far better than the overly-ambitious goals.
3.) Create and Stick to an Ideal Week or Schedule
The is the absolute keys to becoming more consistent over time. Leaving your schedule to chance is a recipe for disaster, leaving your schedule up to chance and mere choice. It also evokes constant task-switching which enables you to get less done and uses up extra brainpower, depleting willpower.
A regular routine and schedule allows us to make educated choices and to not pile on tasks and promises unrelated to our goals.
4.) Surround Yourself with Reminders
Three posters hung in my office and home, stand as constant reminders of what's important regarding my work.
The first states: “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”
There's never a perfect time to do anything, so do it.
The second says, “There ain’t no rules around here. We’re trying to accomplish something.”
A great reminder to not get caught up in the "shoulds" of life and business but rather, focus on the big goal.
The final poster is self-explanatory, and my favorite of them all.
“Get Shit Done.” 😁
5.) Make Promises ONLY if You Can Keep Them
Consistency often involves making commitments and keeping them. It's easy to get overwhelmed if you make too many promises. If you think a request may be difficult to honor, just say no.
An unfulfilled promise, no matter the excuse, is significantly more damaging than rejecting the request in the first place.
6.) Make Mistakes and Keep Going
Perfectionism is the bane of the entrepreneur’s existence.
It keeps us from finishing what we start, or in some cases from even starting because we are afraid to make a mistake. Instead of shying away from mistakes — we do this because we put too much weight on each individual action— embrace action as the goal instead of the outcome of the action.
Mistakes give us a chance to improve upon our last effort. You didn’t walk the first time your parents put you on the floor, did you?
Consistency doesn’t mean that you are working all of the time. In fact, if you give yourself time to recover, you’ll improve your productivity and avoid burning out. Schedule in time for yourself, and don’t let anything get in the way. Many of the entrepreneurs that I work with used to believe that it took 60-80 hours a week (or more!) to be successful. It doesn’t. Taking time off to reflect and recharge will allow your brain to get excited about your next period of action.
8.) Create External Accountability
One of the great challenges of being your own boss is the fact that you are responsible to no one other than yourself.
While this is one of the reasons that you chose this life, it’s also one of the reasons that entrepreneurship is so hard.
To be consistent you have to make sure that you recognize when you don't reach the standards and goals that you've set. External accountability is great. A coach or mastermind group can help you with that.
If you don’t have a coach or a mastermind group to hold you accountable, consider going to coach.me and search for an “accountability coach.”
You can hire a coach like Kellie Parker for as little as $25 per week, including unlimited in-app messaging with Kellie, Daily check-ins, and personalized advice to overcome your biggest obstacles.
9.) Train Out Negative Thinking
Negative undermines consistency and of willpower. When you think negatively you are making yourself less likely to be able to hold to your consistent actions.
Pay attention to negative thought patterns that will hinder you in the future. Catch yourself if you start thinking, "I can't do this" or "I'm stupid."
When you do notice these negative thought patterns, turn them around or introduce a more positive or neutral thought.
So for example, if you find yourself thinking "I can't do this," turn it around and think, "I'm going to practice doing this, even if I'm not great at it to start with."