Raise your hand if you’ve wondered how to stay consistent (in life or business) before?
Well…you’re reading this post so I assume:
You’re either a wonderful friend who decided to support me and read my post (thank you), you’re feeling unproductive and you’re struggling to stay consistent or your schedule is CRAZY and you know consistency will help bring peace and calm to your life.
Either way I’m hoping my tips will help you win when it comes to consistency!
Success, in all areas of life, is achieved when you consistently do specific tasks (big or small) that help you achieve your goals.
If you want a six pack you need to:
- Consistently eat healthy foods
- Consistently do the right exercises
- Give it some TIME
From this we learn that:
CONSISTENCY + TIME = RESULTS
Some days it’s just HARD to remain consistent.
You know what you want to achieve, AND you know what you need to do to get there but doing it consistently is HARD.
So how do we stay consistent when we’re not really “feeling” it?
WE CREATE HABITS.
Think about some habits and routines in your life that you would call “second nature”. You wake up and do them without even thinking about it, like brushing your teeth, making lunch, shaving etc.
You’ve decided that those actions are necessary in your daily life, so they’ve become a habitual part of your day – even when you don’t FEEL like it. Well at least 80-90% of the time. We’ve probably all skipped brushing our teeth once and decided to skip taking our make-up off before bed because we were tired.
We know that 90% of the time we do these actions because they are necessary to achieve our goals AND because we’ve made them a habit.
So how to we stay consistent with bigger goals (whether it’s work or life related) and turn them into habits?
1 | GET CLEAR ON YOUR VISION
This is SO HARD.
I don’t like to waste time, so stopping to spend time thinking about what I want to achieve seems silly when I should be IMPLEMENTING. Let’s be honest, there is ALWAYS something to do in business.
How will you stay consistent in life and business if you don’t take the time to figure out what your end goal is?
A: You won’t.
You need to STOP and take time away from your computer, away from your daily tasks and away from distractions to be still and think about your desires and what YOU personally want to achieve in both business and life.
It’s easy to see what others are doing and to say that’s what you want but until you take time to think about what YOU want your life to look like, you’ll never truly know if you’re creating the life you want.
Your motivation for writing a blog post may be very different to some else’s motivation so it’s important to also think about WHY you’re wanting to achieve that goal in biz or life.
The first step is to get clear on your vision for your life.
It’s like creating a vision board except you’re writing out your goals and desires. If you want to create a Pinterest board with your vision for biz and life then definitely do that now.
2 | START BIG THEN GET SPECIFIC
Create a mind map of the BIG things you want to achieve in your life and business.
It can be things that you want to achieve in YEARS to come and things you’d like to achieve in the next year.
- Do you want to have a healthy body?
- Do you want to sell X spots in your program?
- Do you want to become an author of a book?
Make sure these goals are specific to what YOU want to achieve and write them down.
Your next step is to get a little more specific under each big goal. List out the specific action items or tasks that need to be done to achieve those goals.
Here is an example of what ONE goal mapped out might look like.
50 Tricep Dips
50 Push ups
30 sec. plank
30 sec. plank to push ups
EVERY SECOND DAY.
This may be a simple, exercise related, example but it’s the same process for any goal in your life or business. It starts with a vision, then you set a specific goal and then you identify the action steps to achieve it.
3 | START WITH ONE THING
You’re going to have a LOT of goals you want to achieve in life and business but trying to be consistent with all of them AT ONCE is going to make it harder for you to create habit around the task and goal.
Select one goal you’ll start tackling first and once you spend 2 months doing that consistently and you see it becoming a habit, you can start working on ONE other goal.
If you want to exercise consistently every day and eat healthier foods, then I challenge you to start with ONE of those.
Because our natural reaction at this point in the process is to see the big picture of ALL we want to achieve and think “I MUST ACHIEVE ALL OF THIS RIGHT NOW SO I NEED TO WORK ON ALL OF THEM TODAY…RIGHT AWAY!”.
However, when we try and do ALL THE THINGS at once we end up overwhelmed and revert to the basics. If you want to create a NEW habit of exercising daily and eating healthy foods simply choose ONE goal and start with that.
Start by selecting ONE goal you want to achieve and identify the action steps you need to take to achieve it. If it’s writing 1 blog post per week then that will be your challenge for the next 2 months.
If it’s exercising daily, then that will be your challenge for the next 2 months.
4 | SCHEDULE IT
Creating a schedule doesn’t mean you’re trying to fit things into your day, it means you’re deciding what YOU want to prioritize in your life.
Your schedule isn’t some horrible boss telling you what to do. It’s your guide to the life YOU desire for yourself, reminding you what YOU chose to prioritize.
Whether you actively write down in a paper diary what your tasks are for the day OR you wing it and do whatever needs to be done that day – you’re still living by a schedule.
At the end of the day when you look back at what tasks you’ve done you create a mental list (a schedule) of things you’ve achieved.
So instead of letting other people (like your email inbox) tell you what will be important in your life, YOU need to take charge and decide for yourself what you’ll be prioritizing based on the life YOU want.
Pull out your digital or paper calendar and write down WHEN you will perform the specific tasks to achieve your desired goal.
If you chose exercising daily as your main goal, then go to your calendar and write down exactly what exercises you’ll be doing each day AND what time you’ll be doing them.
The key here is try and do it at the SAME TIME or on a SIMILAR DAY so it becomes a routine habit.
We’ve chosen 3pm as our exercise time EVERY DAY, which means I’ve block that time off in my calendar specifically for exercise.
Whatever your task is, you need to schedule it into your calendar and prioritize it. Make sure it fits within your lifestyle in a logical way. If you’re not a 5am type of person but you decide that all of a sudden you’re going to get up at 5am and exercise every day – you’re going to struggle more than you need to. Waking up at 5am daily is it’s OWN goal so make sure you’re being realistic when you schedule your task into your calendar.
Yes this is weird advice but it’s been working like a charm for me and it may help you too.
Life can get crazy and some days things will unexpectedly stop you from achieving your task (no matter what the task) so by keeping one whole day FREE each week you can be FLEXIBLE in your schedule and still remain consistent.
Monday Task: Blog Post initial draft
FREE day: Wednesday – I don’t plan ANYTHING on that day.
On Monday I had to work on tax ALL DAY because it was the one day I could speak to an accountant which meant that my blog post draft wasn’t written on Monday.
No worries – I was able to move it to Wednesday because I kept Wednesdays free for crazy days like these.
I could rest easy knowing that I’m still staying consistent with my blogging goal AND I didn’t have to work late or wake up early to try and fit in the blog post writing because I made sure my schedule was FLEXIBLE for my lifestyle.
I know you don’t want to hear this but you’re not super human (you’re special and unique but not super human).
As excited as you might be to try and achieve all of your goals as soon as possible the best way to consistently reach most of them is to focus on one at a time and also realize you can’t do everything in one day.
Over-scheduling is one of the biggest problems we face today.
We’re trying to answer 20 emails every day, write a blog post, design images for social media, create a YouTube video, record podcast episodes, do Instagram stories, post on ALL social platforms daily, create email campaigns, work on sales funnels, host webinars, sell our products and services, have client calls, network and attend live events, create new products, create new freebies and the 70 000 other things we want to squeeze in and we haven’t even thought about anything outside of work yet.
Adding in exercising, cooking healthy meals 3 times a day, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, having date nights, having your nails and hair done nicely – WOAH I’m tired just thinking of it all.
We honestly can’t create a balanced lifestyle if we try and squeeze everything in daily AND make everything a habit at once.
You need to create SPACE in your schedule EVERY DAY for the unexpected because some days you’ll be able to do more and other days you won’t be able to do loads.
By creating a schedule that is filled with tasks that can EASILY be done in one day – CONSISTENTLY, you’ll be able to stick with it for longer because it will actually fit your lifestyle.
When I first created my scheduled I packed it with tasks I knew I needed to do.
Once the schedule was done I looked at it and LAUGHED. How on earth could I get that much done and be consistent with it?
There was NO WAY.
So I cut it down to the goals I wanted to focus on and the bare necessities of business and life. I focused on ONE specific task that I wanted to make a habit (blog post writing) and I set the days and times I would work on that. I then filled in the calendar with my other work and life tasks in a way that left me SPACE for the unexpected and for breaks.
The result? I’ve managed to stick to my schedule and be consistent with EXERCISE, BLOG POST WRITING and getting my necessary WORK done – for the first time in 2 years.
No I haven’t scheduled in recording a podcast even though that is one of my goals.
The reason it’s not scheduled is because I’m focusing on becoming a consistent blogger first in order to achieve one of my business goals. Once that becomes part of my routine I will then decide if Podcasting is the next goal I’ll begin working on OR if consistent webinars will be what I focus on.
The key is to START WITH ONE THING!
5 | EMBRACE YOUR FEELINGS
Again it’s not the advice you receive most of the time but I’m trying to be realistic here.
I know that every month there are 2 days when I have zero energy and the world feels like it’s crumbling around me. Then there are a few days when I may feel unproductive OR inspired to create something outside of what my goals are.
So I’ve learnt that you can force yourself to not pay attention to your feelings OR you can embrace them and prepare your schedule for them.
This is why I keep my Wednesdays free. It has taken EVERYTHING in me to not schedule work on a Wednesday each week but it’s been the BEST decision for my schedule.
It means that when those 2 days come around I can either shift tasks to the Wednesdays of that month OR if those days fall on a Wednesday I can do what I need to (hide in my bed, walk outside, Netflix or read a book) without feeling guilty because I created a schedule that works WITH ME and FOR ME.
For the days when I don’t FEEL like doing anything I can either shift those tasks to Wednesday OR because I’ve begun forming a habit my mind and body allow me to do the work because it’s a routine and not as difficult as it was in the beginning (this is where you want to get to).
When you do something SO often, consistently, it becomes a habit that is REALLY easy to follow. If you exercise every day for 3 months, your body and mind will be prepared and used to doing that activity as a habit that even if you wake up tired your body and mind are on autopilot and will do it anyway.
Your goal is to get to that point. Once you’ve created a habit of doing the task consistently you’ll begin seeing results from all the hard work.
Next time you don’t FEEL like doing it you’ll know the results outweigh your feelings and because it’s a habit it’s easier to do.
If you’re not there yet, you need to make sure your schedule is created to work WITH you instead of AGAINST you.
6 | CATCH THAT WAGON
My approach to staying consistent focuses heavily on creating a schedule that fits into the life YOU want.
That means realizing that your schedule is simply a gameplan you’ve created to achieve your goals and every game plan needs to be created with YOU in mind.
It’s inevitable that things won’t always go according to plan.
This blog post was scheduled to be written on Monday, tax came up and I had to adjust my schedule for the change.
It may seem like when you have to move something or skip it that week you’ll never get back into the groove again. It’s often referred to you falling of the band wagon but in truth the wagon is actually moving a lot slower than you think and you can hop back on.
I try not skip the task that week but in a “worst case” scenario if it needs to be skipped, then I make sure my schedule is set to include it next week and
What you DON’T want is to become consistent at skipping the task (hello exercise).
That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re only focusing on ONE new habit at a time.
That way if it has to be skipped it’ll be the only major priority next week and you’ll keep going.
It is NEVER an ALL OR NOTHING game.
“The accomplishment of any goal is the progressive accumulation, or compound effect, of small steps taken consistently over time” – Darren Hardy
Consistency is in the small steps taken over time not in the all or nothing approach.
You’ll often hear me say it’s worse for you to spend one day pinning 100 pins and then two weeks pinning nothing. You’ll get better results if you consistently pin 5 things per day than following an all or nothing approach. It’s the same with your schedule.
7 | ACCOUNTABILITY
Do you remember how brushing your teeth became a habit?
It became a habit a long time ago for you, but thanks to your parents or guardians you now brush your teeth every day. When you first started out brushing your teeth your parents would check that you actually brushed and if you didn’t they’d send you to the bathroom to go and brush your teeth.
Your parents (or guardians) were your FIRST accountability partners.
They helped make sure you did what you needed to do to live a healthy life.
Without them checking in on you to make sure you were achieving the goal (brushing your teeth) you probably wouldn’t have brushed as often.
The power of having someone come along side you when you start to form a new habit and try to be consistent with your schedule is HUGE.
I showed my husband my goals and the tasks I wanted to do to achieve those goals and now at 3pm EVERY SINGLE DAY he and I get up from our desks and tell each other it’s time to exercise. We had the same goal so it’s made accountability even easier!
Find a biz bestie, your partner or a friend and ask them to check in with you weekly (you can do the same for them) to find out how your consistency with your goal is going.
So if you’re trying to be consistent and failing consistently (yes I see how funny that is), then it’s time to try out the strategy I’ve shared.
Remember that small consistent steps, in all areas of life, will lead to you achieving your goals.