Statistically, this is the time of year when most people abandon the goals they set just a few weeks ago, giving into the idea that change is either hopeless or just too hard. We often give different names to the reasons for our failures:
Time – usually not enough of it.
Tough – the task is just too hard.
Terrible – to describe how you feel on the new diet, wake/sleep pattern, budget, etc.
The answer for most of these problems is simple though: maintaining consistency. Simple concept, yes, but difficult practice. The behaviors we repeat often define the reality of our lives. Aristotle may have said it best when he said:
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
You have probably heard that a habit can be created or broken in a matter of just 21 days. But more recent research has shown that this isn’t really accurate. The study reveals that the actual number is 66 days with variation of between 18 and 254 days depending on the specific habit being developed. Yes, some habits are harder to form, and break, than others but nothing in the research stated that the habit could not be formed, just that some were more difficult. It just so happens that bad habits are easier to form than healthy ones, but the truth is all habits are formed and broken through consistency.
If you have a problem with overeating, not getting enough rest, not exercising, or even with substance use, it most likely didn’t just happen. You likely developed that problem over time and it may even have been consistently modeled to you by parents or friends. Just as you learned the behavior over time, you will have to unlearn it over time as well. Here are 5 keys to success for maintaining consistency as you pursue your goals.
- Get Positive – Zig Ziglar is famously quoted as saying, “Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” I have yet to meet a consistently successful goal setter who maintains a negative attitude. If you believe you can achieve, you are one step closer to doing so.
- Get Connected – Studies indicate that men and women are more likely to consistently exercise if there is someone else involved in the effort. For women it is more about the social connection. For men it is the desire to compete. Either way being connected to other people who have similar goals, who will struggle through the tough times with you, makes a world of difference in your success.
- Get Inspired – Find someone who has already had success in what you are attempting and start a relationship with them. Most people will be thrilled to share knowledge and encourage you along the journey. Go ahead now and plan to be an inspiration for someone else in the future.
- Get Going – The old Chinese Proverb states that “The journey of a 1,000 miles begins with a single step.” We spend far too much time wishing, planning, dreaming, and hoping life change will happen but failing to take the first step and even when we do, something compels us not to take the next 30 after that. It is important not just to make goals, but to also pursue them.
- Get Committed – The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church in Corinth to inspire them and in it he wrote this:
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
– 1 Corinthians 15:58
Yes, the work is tough! Yes, it can be extremely uncomfortable! But the change you need is worth it, and it won’t happen without consistency. You and your family are worth the effort, the goals you are aiming for can be achieved. It is a step-by-step process, so go ahead and get stepping to it today.
Photo by getinspired.com.