The Importance of Consistency

The road to success has many important steps with none more important than the consistency of your actions. If you were to make a hierarchy of importance for these steps, this may be at the top. There are several reasons for this, however, none will be more impactful than the action of finishing what you have already started.

The beginning of any great idea starts with a bout of inspiration. While inspiration can be hard to find, it can also strike from anywhere at anytime and costs you nothing. You can be in the shower, doing a workout, taking a walk, really anywhere and have a great idea run through your mind. Start talking to anyone and after a while they will almost always reveal a great idea that they once had. Long story short, there is no shortage of ideas. You should ask yourself though why everyone has a great idea but never a great story to tell about the realization of it? It’s no secret why. Few have the discipline to see it through.

The real question to ask is why is it so hard to stay consistent with your plan once you start? After all, when someone thinks up a great plan they have it mapped out in their head what they’re going to do, what that action plan is, everything from the beginning to the end all in one thought. A plan that will be so easy to execute they will be well on their way to accomplishing their goal. While this is a great start, these individuals are in what is the honeymoon stage of their idea. When a brief spurt of motivation is high and the realities of the work that is required hasn’t yet been realized.

The problem with inspiration is that it is similar to motivation. It can be a powerful but fleeting feeling that can fade as quickly as it comes to you. It’s fun to imagine the end where the accomplishment has been realized – daydreaming of success has it’s place and helps you to get started but it won’t take you to the finish line. Consistency is what will.

Why is it so hard to be consistent? I think we all know the answer. In a world full of distractions your plan can get derailed quite easily. In the beginning of any plan there is no shortage of things to get accomplished. The “low hanging fruit” is right there for the picking so why not go ahead and take it. There is nothing wrong with this. The best time to get started on something is now so taking care of the menial tasks can help get the ball rolling. The problems arise when those tasks get completed and you’re left with the harder next steps. These don’t get done as quick and often require significantly more time and expertise to get them accomplished.

Unfortunately, our brains are like electricity – they are wired to take the path of least resistance. In the moment the task that takes the least amount of time and is the easiest to accomplish is what it wants to do. Taking breaks to check your phone, watch a show, do anything besides the task at hand is what the brain is good at. It wants to go the easy route. It’s important that you don’t let it dictate your actions. This is biggest separator between those who manage to complete what they set out to do and those who don’t. This is where consistency makes a difference.

Consistency in your actions means no matter what, you will continue to execute the plan of whatever you have set out to do. You must resist the temptations of distractions and continue with your plan. The risk you run if you don’t do this is ruining your routine that you set for yourself and start on a path that is leading you away from what you want to do. The more you stray, the easier it is to keep doing it. Keep this up and you will soon join the ranks of those who had good intentions but just could not stay focused enough to see their plan through.

To stay consistent you must develop your own self discipline and believe in the end game. You must know that no matter what, you will do what is necessary to get your plan rolling in the right direction and continue to do so until it is completed. This is a tough skill to learn but one that will pay dividends for the rest of your life. Practice consistency in all phases of your life and you will start to see the small gains you make everyday will soon realize your plans the way you envisioned them from the start.