• David Strittmatter

How to become more consistent [3 practical tips]

Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come – Dwayne Johnson

Summary:

  • We greatly overestimate what's possible in a few weeks and greatly underestimate what's possible in 10 years

  • Success isn't about eureka moments. If we want to achieve certain things in our life, it’s about aiming for consistent progress

  • Short-term-oriented decisions inhibit us in a way so we cannot live our lives to the fullest


Practical advice:

  • First, we have to always stick to the promises and expectations we communicate

  • Second, we need to make use of routines and incorporate them into our workflows

  • Third, we need to continuously remind ourselves to think more long-term


Dear friend,


During my run today, I was struggling to maintain my pace. I felt exhausted and overwhelmed because of the hot temperatures. As always when the pain arises, my brain thought up reasons and tried to convince me to run slower or even stop. It eventually brought me to the point where I asked myself: Should I quit and take a break?


Regularly, I'm faced with similar situations: Should I ...

  • go on social media even though I have to write this blog post?

  • buy those sweets or that candy even though it's not optimal for my health?

  • go to the lake nearby even though I have to study for the upcoming exams?

In such situations, we have to decide: Short-term pleasure or long-term happiness. The price we pay for the latter: Unease, discomfort, or even pain.


I firmly believe consistency is key. It always pays to persevere the struggle. And because my conviction is so strong, I don't succumb to short-term pleasure and so didn't quit today either.


In today's blog article, I'll write about why consistency is crucial for success and how you can become more consistent, too.


Why consistency is key for success


It doesn't matter which area of life we look at: Relationships, ventures, career, health, sports, music, art, etc. - we greatly overestimate what's possible in a few weeks and greatly underestimate what's possible in 10 years.


We won't establish a great friendship in a week. It takes a lot of time - not months but years - until we really get to know someone. The same goes for sports, getting in shape, building a company, or getting the job we always dreamt of.


Success isn't about eureka moments. If we want to achieve certain things in our life, it’s about aiming for consistent progress. We need to exercise, read, work, learn, study, ... on a regular basis. Inconsistency is the enemy of results. True success emerges when we do all the many minor things right, day-in and day-out.


But all too often we forget this certainty. We indulge ourselves, stop when we should go on. We question the process and, suddenly, settle for short-term pleasure.


Unfortunately, we have only one life and even worse our lifetime is limited. Short-term-oriented decisions inhibit us in a way so we cannot live our lives to the fullest.


Where you must not be consistent


Although consistency allows us to reach our true potential, it's not optimal to be consistent in all areas of life either. We have only resources that are limited: Time, energy, willpower, ... We cannot become a tennis star, sing like Adele, be a great father, and sleep 8 hours a day altogether.


If we want to live a great life, we have to decide what we want to improve or maintain. Other activities need to be minimized or eliminated.


And yes, there are things we cannot or don't want to eliminate: You might have family obligations, an annoying job that pays your bills, or a few more exams until you can become a lawyer. It's very difficult to aim for consistency when we're not inspired and motivated at all. In these cases, we need to minimize our resource input so that we've more energy and time for the things that truly matter to us.


Tips to become more consistent


First, we have to always stick to the promises and expectations we communicate. We must never become the person we don't trust. To be consistent, we need to believe in ourselves and our ability to hold ourselves accountable. Once our own imagination of ourselves is spoiled, we're much more likely to abandon ourselves again and again. And it's even the little things such as writing something down on our to-do list and not doing it.


Second, we need to make use of routines and incorporate them into our workflows. Each and every routine has (1) a trigger (2) an activity (3) a reward. If we want to be consistent, routines are our strongest allies. The more willpower is needed to perform something - such as running at your max pace, studying from sunrise to sunset, or saying no to sweets in a diet - the stronger and more attractive the reward has to be. Once the routine is established and performed over the course of a few weeks, less willpower will be required to perform it. Eventually, after a few months, we don't have to spend any willpower to maintain it.


Third, we need to continuously remind ourselves to think more long-term: We greatly overestimate what's possible in a few weeks and greatly underestimate what's possible in 10 years.

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