How to stay consistent?
Hello my dear friend ! Welcome back to yet another episode of Morning Cup of Sunshine podcast and a very warm welcome if you are a new listener and if you just found me. This is episode number 52 - How to stay consistent? I wanted to record an episode on this topic for a long time but I wanted to create authentic content and it would not have been very real if I talk about consistency, let’s say in episode number 2. Am I right? This is the topic which needed the correct timing. I think now that I have been podcasting for almost a year, I can talk about consistency and its challenges more realistically. Do you agree? It is an extremely important life skill and which can take you to places. Let’s talk about consistency in all it’s glory in today’s episode. Shall we? But of course after we talk about Happy Moment of the Week.
Happy Moment of the Week.
This week both me and my husband got vaccinated. I still remember the exact day when we heard about school and offices closing down. My son had some programs in his school and we were gathered to watch kids perform. During that program, they announced that the schools will be closed for just a few days and kids will learn remotely. I thought it would be a short period. I remember talking to my friend over a phone. We thought kids will be back at school after spring break, in just a week or so. But you all know how it went. I remember how scared we were even to step out of the house. How we used to get all groceries delivered to our doorstep and the warzone preparation to clean and disinfect everything. It was a tough time. But we were still safe and at home. I can't even find enough words to thank all the front line workers who still worked outside of their home, risking their lives every single day to protect us. I feel so grateful for each one of them. I had all these thoughts and last year memories gathered in my mind when I was getting a vaccine today. I was feeling so grateful for the brilliant minds in this world who fought for our health and safety. I know we still have a long road to conquer this virus. I can not express how deeply saddened I am hearing the stories of the second wave in some countries including my home country India. Even though I feel much more safe and happy after getting the vaccine, the journey doesn't end here. We still have to stand strong, follow all the social distancing rules, wear masks not just for your own sake but to protect others too. I see many people getting vaccinated now and it brings me pure joy. I wish everyone of you great health and a safe environment. I know I got a bit emotional while sharing my happy moment this week because there is a lot that happened last year. So many of us lost their loved ones and I know nobody can replace them but finding a vaccine, making it available for billions of people is not an easy feat for mankind. It is definitely a moment to feel proud and grateful for these brilliant minds. So thank you to every single person who fought for the safety of normal people like us.
Alright, I think I have a lot more to say but maybe I will share more in my weekly post for happy moments in my Facebook group - Morning Cup of Sunshine podcast. Do you have a happy moment to share with me? Come join me in this incredible group of inspired and inspiring people and spread some joy and happiness around.
Alright, it is time to dive into today’s topic - How to be consistent? Do you know the dictionary meaning of being consistent? It means adhering to the same principals all the time. It is a well decorated quality. It is not a talent but an acquired skill. I have talked a lot about habits and goals in the past. Even if you have a big goal or an intention to create a habit but if you don’t remain consistent in your efforts to acquire that habit or get closer to that goal, the success will always elude you. It is inherent that you remain consistent in your efforts. Just imagine, you want to lose a few pounds, you workout for hours on day 1 but then you don’t workout for another month, will you be able to shed those extra pounds? No absolutely not so only good intentions are not enough, taking consistent inspired actions is the key here. So, let’s talk about the steps that you need to take to be consistent in any goal, task, habit that you desire to cultivate.
Step 1 : Why
You can not start your journey towards any new goal, any new habit without determining your own why. It is the only way to sustain that habit for a long time. It is you who needs to be completely convinced. I know I have talked about this step multiple times but this time I want to go a little deeper. Let’s take the same example, let’s say you want to shed some pounds after battling with weight loss yo-yo for a long time, you are fed up and you have made your mind to finally shed those pounds. Before getting trapped in any kind of FAD diet or registering yourself into a 21 days crash course to lose weight, stop for a moment. Try to find why you want to lose that weight? Is it because you want more energy to play with your kids? Is it because you want to feel good about yourself and what losing weight has to do with how you feel about yourself? Is it because you want to fit into a certain dress? Is it because you feel more confident when you are at your comfortable weight? What is your reason? Once you find your reason, dig a little deeper and determine is it something you really want? Is it something you consider your top priority? I was reading one article the other day and it was mentioned in this article that you should write down all your goals small or big doesn’t matter on a piece of paper. It can be as big as getting Certification done that you need for your career advancement or as small as getting meal planning done every Sunday. You can make a long list of a short one, doesn't matter. Once you have the list, write down your reason, why do you want to achieve this goal. Write down how it impacts your life, does it make your life easier, better, happier. Once you write down your reasons then see which goals really align with what you want from your life. Is it really worth it to spend your time in the kitchen preparing the meals for a week instead of spending the time to study for that exam which can take you to the new heights in your career? What is your current priority? What will make you more happy, more calm? If preparing your meals in advance on Sunday can free up your time on weekdays which you can then spend to study for that exam then maybe spending time to meal prep is worth it for you. IT all depends on your own priorities and lifestyle. Once you have the ideas of your priorities start crossing off the goals which do not really make sense in this season of life or do not align with your priorities and your why’s. The goals which still remain on that list are the ones where you need to focus your energy on. Those are the goals which truly align with your Why’s. Those are goals or habits that you should work on consistently. But how?
Step 2 : How
It is always important to have a plan. It is like a blueprint of your inspired actions. This way you can understand the roadmap to your goal. Let’s say you want to prepare for some kind of a certification in order hone your skills or elevate your knowledge. You know why you want to appear for this exam and you have figured it out that this is the goal that you are going to work on right now. Will it work if you only set an intention without really figuring it out what it takes for you to prepare and appear for this exam? You need to do some research on how to enroll for this certification? What are the resources that you need to prepare for this exam? You also need to figure out the schedule to prepare for your exam. Let’s say you are already working and have a lot on your plate already but you still want to complete this certification. In that case you need to adjust a few things from your schedule so that you can take some time out to prepare for this exam. This “how” part is all about planning and preparation. You need to set some intentional time aside to plan the small steps to get closer to your goal. If you take our earlier example, if you want to lose those extra pounds then you need to figure out how you are going to do that? Are you planning to take a gym membership or work at home? What time are you going to work everyday? Are you going to follow any diet or work on clean eating? What are some of the main areas that you want to focus on? There are going to be many questions, doubts that might come to your mind when you start your journey. What I am suggesting to do is to address as many doubts as you can before you even start your journey. It should be no brainer for you when it comes to schedule, needed resources etc. If you already know morning 6-7 is the best time for you to workout or to work on your certification preparation or any other goal that you are trying to achieve then there should not be any confusion on when to work on your goal. Try to get most of the questions out of the way before you even start your journey. Your body and your mind should be able to trust you that this is the time you are going to work on your goal. No confusion.. Trust is built with consistency. If you want to build a trust, show up every single day. If you promise your friend that you will be there to help him on Sunday at 4.00 pm, what do you do, you show up right? Because you have promised him and you want to keep that promise. But why do you break the promise that you gave to yourself when you planned to workout every single day at 6.00 am? Why is it easy to break the promise given to yourself? Think about it. Success does not come from what you do occasionally. It comes from what you do consistently. If you want to build your brand, then one thing that you should do is show up, no matter what. If you want to write a book, then show up and write at least something every single day. If you want to learn a new skill, then show up and work on that skill little by little every single day. I talked about persistence in one of the very early episodes. It is still my favorite episode because, personally, I learnt a lot when I was preparing for that episode. This episode is called, Persistence over perfection. I will put a link to that episode in my show notes. Persistence is how you get the success but consistency is how you will keep that success. But I understand, it is not easy to be consistent all the time, life happens. There are many challenges that can derail from your path. I want to share some hidden gems in the next step that can help you stay on the tack or get back on the track after you are derailed from the consistency path.
Step 3: What
What should you do to get back on track after your fall off the wagon? Don’t worry , it happens to every single one of us. You were very consistent in your daily running for weeks but then you went on a vacation and after you got back somehow, you did not have the motivation to get back to running. You were so good at eating healthy but then you had a big emotional turmoil and you spiraled down in your old binge eating habits, You were so good at preparing for that exam but then you had a big project to complete and the busy week completely derailed you. Sounds familiar? I can give countless examples because I have experienced it most of them. But does that mean you should not even try to get back on track? You have already put in so much effort into that task just because you are a little bit derailed does not mean you should completely give up. Right? In this step, I am going to give you some quick tips that can help you become consistent in whatever goal, habit, task, challenge that you take up.
First and foremost remember the feeling that you get after you accomplish your daily goal. How do you feel after you workout or after you complete your daily steps? Do you feel good ? Remember that feeling and hold on to that feeling when you feel like not doing your daily workout. Remember your thoughts have a power to make or break your consistency habit, try to channel your thoughts in a way that helps you move forward. Another quick tip is to keep a journal or some kind of a tracker as a visual reminder. I like to keep the calendar and I put a quick check mark when I accomplish the tasks that I want to do consistently. It is a great way to get the motivation and sustain the momentum. Another way is to have a friend who is on a similar journey, it always helps to have someone by your side when you feel a little down or distracted. Sense of community and accountability always helps you keep on track. Not so common tip but, declare your goal to the world, maybe tell your family members or friends that you are planning to accomplish this new challenge. Once the world knows it, it gives you a little nudge when you feel to abandon that challenge. Another great way is to do Manifestation Meditation. It is new for me too. You know me, I am not an expert on Meditation, I am still learning. But these days, I do this 5 minute Manifestation Meditation every single morning. It is a kind of visualization exercise. You try to imagine and set your intentions early in the day. This sets the tone for the day. Another way that always helps me is to complete your focused task early in the morning. When I was trying to cultivate a habit of writing a journal, I started writing the journal first thing in the morning, that way I don’t have any excuse of not finding time or forgetting about it etc. Try to accomplish your focused task first thing in the morning. For at least the first 30 days, work on your goal even when you don’t feel like it. I am all about self compassion but it does not mean you get permission to be lazy. If your goal is to workout consistently, work out every single day for 30 days no matter what. If you don’t feel like working out on any day, still workout, maybe use lighter weights, or instead of intense HIIT workout, go for a light jog or walk. You got the idea right? Always remember, we are what we do consistently. Be prepared for some pushback from your own mind, be prepared for some challenges, be prepared for some hardships but trust it is for your own good. Most of us start working on some new goal, we anticipate the road to success will be linear and clear but we should know better from our past experiences. It is how we handle the failures, challenges and roadblocks define our success. It is how we navigate through those hardships that define our road to success. If you want to be a blogger, you should write consistently. What if after getting huge readership for months you noticed a dip in your readership, should you just quit or keep on going and maintain the momentum. It is this exact moment that will define your passion for blogging. Go back to basics and figure out what is one simple step that I can take today to maintain my momentum. Always remember, day by day step by step. Success is the sum of all small efforts repeated day in day out.
Just to some up everything, always remember “We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day”