Why You’re Struggling to Be Consistent and How Do You Fix It
by Abigail Phang. |
Have you noticed how gyms are packed during the first weeks of the year, but start to get quieter as the year progresses on? Or are you one of those people who seem to have the same goals every year, only to ‘carry them forward’ each new year? The problem of consistency isn’t new, and it certainly isn’t rare. Many people struggle with sticking to their goals, and few actually manage to achieve them; but why is it so hard to stay consistent?
Here are some pointers that may help you identify the roots of your dilemma:
1. You focus on the outcome instead of the process
A reason you may struggle with being consistent is that you are too focused on the end results. This may cause you to overlook your progress and how far you have actually come. If you’re constantly thinking about how you have yet to reach your goal, you’ll naturally feel discouraged thinking that your efforts are in vain.
2. You lack patience
You may start off your plans with high hopes, only to lose motivation when you still don’t see results within the first few days, or even weeks. You lack the patience and determination to persevere once you don’t see any immediate improvements or progress; and hence give up easily.
3. You lack a concrete plan
You might struggle to be consistent when you don’t have a clear plan kept in mind or written down. This may cause you to lose track of what you’re doing and easily get distracted along the way. Before you know it, you may have already forgotten about your goals.
Knowing so, how, then, can we fix this problem and stay consistent?
1. Focus on one thing at a time
It is easy to lose track and get frustrated when you’re trying to achieve many things at once. Multitasking can prove efficient, but it makes it much harder if your goals require you to be consistent. Therefore, choose one goal to work on at a time. What is concerning you the most right now? What is the thing that has the most impact on your life now? Isolate that goal and work on achieving it before you start on other tasks.
2. Be specific with your goals
When you have specific tasks in mind, you know exactly what to do and how to do it. This also increases your efficiency as you will be tackling your tasks with practical, tangible effort. Doing so helps you to monitor your progress, as you know that you have completed exactly what you have planned to do for the day. For example, if you want to lose weight, instead of telling yourself that you’re going to eat less and exercise more, be specific with it - say that you want to eat no more than 3 meals a day, or that you want to run at least 2 kilometres every day.
3. Acknowledge the small wins
Be sure to acknowledge how far you have come in your journey, no matter if you’re seeing results or not. Certain goals may take a much longer time for the effects to realise, such as learning a new musical instrument or skill. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and hence you won’t see drastic results immediately as well. However, be sure to reward yourself for what you have been able to accomplish so far, or even just for sticking to your plans. Having a positive attitude can go a long way in staying consistent as you are less prone to give up due to negative perceptions.
4. Constantly remind yourself
Constantly remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing and keep that sweet end victory in mind as motivation. You can write down your daily tasks and commitments on a post-it note and stick it somewhere easily visible, have a note in your wallet, or even set an inspiring and relatable quote as your devices’ wallpapers.
5. Resist temptations
Building a strong willpower is essential in staying consistent. We all have days when we are extra busy, extra tired, or just don’t feel like it. However, we have to push through these obstacles in order to remain consistent. It’s easy to tell ourselves that we can skip a day, but that one day often turns into two, two into four, and soon we’ll have abandoned our desire to achieve our goals. Therefore, eliminate temptations around you. If you’re easily distracted by your phone, keep your phone in another room while you’re working; if you’re trying to eat healthier, don’t buy or keep unhealthy snacks in your house.
6. Give yourself rest
Being consistent does not necessarily mean that you’re working all the time. If you give yourself some time to rest or relax, it can improve your productivity and avoid burn-outs. Excellent ways to recharge and relax your mind include power-napping and meditation.
7. Be realistic with your habits
Staying consistent is almost like making something a habit. Research has shown that habits take up to 21 days to fully develop. Knowing this, we should be realistic and know our limits. We might be able to do extreme tasks for maybe a day or two, but constantly pushing ourselves for days without any breaks may result in opposite effects. Hence, it is crucial that we set out our daily tasks to be realistic and achievable. For example, if you know that you won’t be able to read 50 pages of your novel every day, decrease that number, or even take a different approach, such as reading for 30 minutes to an hour every day.
8. Allow yourself to make mistakes
You might slip up every once in a while, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the end of it all. Allow yourself some space for setbacks or plateaus, but don’t give up or feel discouraged because of them. Such things are natural, and some may even be unavoidable, such as an emergency clashing with your planned-out timetable. Face it, move on, and get back on track once you can.
All in all, it is important that we find joy in the process. While you consistently work on your goals, do not neglect other factors such as your health, personal relationships, and the little joys that come with the hustle. Achieve your goals by putting in effort, but also enjoy the process on the way to your own success.
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