“If you are persistent, you will get it. If you are consistent, you will keep it.” – Harvey Mackay
This quote applies to some of the world’s greatest athletes and leaders. The people who have made a real impact and left their mark are not necessarily the most talented or the most intelligent; they are the most consistent.
Michael Jordan, one of the best basketball players of all time, didn’t make his varsity team on the first try. Throughout his career, he counted the number of times he failed: 300 lost games and he missed the game winning shot 26 times. But rather than let his disappointment derail him, he used it to motivate him. Along with being persistent, he was consistent – practicing day after day, honing his skills and getting closer to reaching his goals. His consistency was the key to his success.
Consistency is also critical in business. Consistently providing good work and good service builds trust and boosts your credibility. Customers will continue coming back to the companies they can rely on.
So, why is being consistent so important? Whether you want to write a novel, or lose 10 pounds, it requires consistent effort to reach that goal. If you don’t stay consistently focused, chances are you will revert back to old patterns.
Consistency ties directly into building habits that can positively change your behavior. When you’re consistent, you build the momentum you need to get (and stay) motivated, and make progress.
Most of our habits are unconscious. Habits are made up of thoughts and behaviors that have become ingrained in our minds. How we act is rooted in what we believe, so in order to change our behavior, we must first change our mindset.
6 Tips to Be More Consistent
- Utilize your planner
Let’s be honest. There are a select few people who can stay organized at work without their Google calendar. When you’re wrapped up in a project, those reminders about upcoming meetings can be a real life-saver!
In the same way that our Google calendar keeps us on track, we should have a separate planner for goal setting. Many of us have tons of ideas floating through our minds on a day to day basis. And if we don’t write them down, the chances of them happening are slim.
To set measurable goals and stick to them, start by writing them down. The simple act of putting your goals down on paper is the first step to bring them to life.
Next, create a schedule that works for you. Based on your daily routine, where does it make sense for you to incorporate this new goal? For example, if you want to make yoga a habit and you have the most energy in the morning, set aside a half hour before you start work. The more you do this, the more it will naturally become part of your day.
One of the most simple yet effective ways to be consistent and get control of your schedule is the Ivy Lee method. At the end of the day, write down your six most important tasks to complete the following day. Write them down in order of most important to least important. Work on one task at a time. This helps save time because you already prioritized your tasks the night before.
- Get a good night’s sleep
Are you tired all the time? As the saying goes, a good day starts the night before and if you’re struggling to get some shuteye, you’re one step behind.
Studies show sleeping less than seven hours is linked to a higher rate of depression.
Unsure whether you’re getting enough sleep? According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should be getting between 7 and 9 hours.
Pro tip: Turn off your phone a half hour before bed. The blue light influences your sleep cycle, tricking your brain into thinking you should be awake.
- Develop a healthier relationship with stress
Stress is inevitable. And while you can’t control the stressful situations in your life, you can control how you respond to them.
First, change your mindset. The most effective way to cope with stress isn’t to avoid it, but instead to embrace it. In fact, studies show that stress can work for you, rather than against you.
When we’re under stress, our hearts beat faster and our breath quickens. While most people see these as signs of nervousness, you can change your thinking to: “I’m excited.”
Did you know your body has the same physiological response to fear and excitement? The way you process it is entirely up to you.
- Eat foods to boost your energy and focus
Our brains need fuel to function, and most of that fuel comes from the food we eat. The good news is there are many naturally energizing foods that will make you more productive and help you stay focused.
- Get your sweat on (preferably in the morning)
Research shows when you work out in the morning, you’re more likely to make better decisions throughout the day.
In the study, scientists found that the participants who participated in morning sessions of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise had higher brain function compared to the group who didn’t.
Let’s face it: Most of us are sitting too much, which negatively impacts both our mental and physical health. The longer we sit, the less consistent and productive we are.
- Celebrate the small victories
The secret to achieving a goal is momentum. The way you build momentum is by making progress. To increase your chances of success, set small achievable goals – and as you accomplish each one, it will motivate you to stay consistent and keep pushing forward.
There will be times when you will get to a crossroads, and the question becomes: will you let the obstacle drag you down or use it to propel you forward?
Consistency is what gives you the strength to keep going during tough times, and focus on your progress, not the outcome. When you’re consistent, you don’t let life’s disappointment’s derail you. You see mistakes as learning opportunities and understand that overcoming failure is what allows you to unlock your true potential.
This article originally appeared on Boom.Boom.