6 Ways to Be Consistent

Do you remember the scene from the 2010 movie Karate Kid where Jackie Chan makes his student do the same “Jacket on, jacket off” move for months?

Well, this kind of training is called Blocked Practice in martial arts where a move is practised repeatedly in order for it to commit to muscle memory. Many athletes do this too, such as in the case of Basketball legend Steph Curry who is said to have practised shooting a basketball every day for 3 months as a kid.

There is a reason why many successful people have similar stories of repeated practice. It is because the one large contributing factor to excellence is consistency.

The great thing about consistency is that it is something we can control. It doesn’t matter where you were born, how you were raised or what luck you have. If you practice goal-aligned behaviors every day, you are sure to be great at what you do.

Now you know what you need to do, but how do you commit to being consistent? I’ve found these 6 ways to be particularly helpful:

1. Defining your goals clearly: When you set out to do something, it is important to start off by defining exactly what you want to achieve. If you write down “I want to read more often”, your brain takes too much time to process what “often” means. By that time, you are already distracted by something else. Instead, try “I want to read at least 10 pages of a book every night before going to sleep”. This removes any unnecessary time for decision-making, and you end up setting a routine too.
2. Learning Goals over Outcome Goals: Outcome goals like “I will earn an award this year” place too much control on external forces. Replace it with learning goals like “I will become great at Public Speaking”. This will help you enjoy the process and feel good whenever you see even the smallest growths.
3. Set a timeframe: Commit to a timeframe in which you plan to achieve your goal. If you set a time of 3 months, for example, it creates a sense of pressure and urgency in your mind that removes chances of procrastination. Also, by that time, the consistent behavior has already become a habit that you no longer need to enforce.
4. Prioritize Activities: Ask yourself questions like, “What are my highest priorities?”, “Are these priorities aligned with my purpose and goals?”
Once you find out which activities in your day are a high priority and which ones are required in order for you to reach your goal, you can set aside time for it. No matter how busy you are, this time will remain untouched.
5. Repeat, Adapt & Refocus: Now repeat your goal-aligned behavior every day until it becomes second nature. When you do this, you’ll start to notice certain things that you may be doing wrong and areas where you are blocking results. It is time then to change those blockers and refocus on developing new techniques. This ability to learn and adapt will ensure you grow instead of remaining stuck.
6. Keep your eyes on the long-term: Humans love instant gratification. But when you are starting off you may not see results instantly. It is easy to give up then. The best way to fight this is by adding variety to your routine. For example, if you are learning something alone, you can switch it up by joining an online class and learning with others. This way you will enjoy the process even if the rewards haven’t shown up yet.

Consistency is not easy for sure. But it is DOABLE for everyone. Time and time again it has been proven as the sure-shot way to excellence. And once you focus on achieving excellence in what you do, success will follow along naturally. 

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