Consistency is More Important Than Perfection
Perfection. Who doesn’t want to do things perfectly? You start a new workout routine, or a new habit of eating a nutritious breakfast, and you want to follow through on it. But then, you miss a day. You wake up late, you have an appointment after work, your child is sick. The next day, it is harder to get back into the good routine. You can’t bounce back because you told yourself you had to get it right. You see the smudge on one day and think, what does it matter now?
Sometimes the idea of perfection, instead of helping us, hurts us. But the good news is, there’s another, better way.
Consistency, not perfection, is the key to any lifestyle or habit change, whether that is exercising, eating good food, or quitting a bad habit. Over time, being consistent, even if that means you miss few days, is what will get you the results you desire. Here are 4 ways to help you be more consistent and reach your goals:
1. Make Gradual Changes
An easy way to burn out fast is to set a goal that is too high. If you haven’t exercised in a while, start with a goal of being at the gym 2-3 days a week. Try that for a month or so until your body gets used to the new habit. Then you can increase to 4-5 days, or whatever you goal may be. If, at the end of the week, you see you have missed a day or two, don’t worry. Keep at it until it is ingrained in you. This kind of gradual change will provide positive reinforcement, and once you can feel the benefits, you’ll want to keep it up.
2. Just Do It
Nike’s tagline has stuck for a reason. If you want to be more consistent, don’t allow yourself to make excuses for why you can’t do something. We all need motivation, but if you want to make real changes in your life, you can’t always rely on motivation. The people who succeed are the ones who just show up and do the work, even if they don’t feel like it. Block out time in your calendar for your goal, whatever it is, and stick to it even on those days when you’d rather eat ice-cream. Over time you’ll make fewer excuses because you won’t be relying on motivation.
3. Stay Accountable
Being accountable to another person or coach is a great way to make sure you are consistent. Make plans to meet the same person at the gym for your workout each day. Just knowing that someone is waiting for you to show up will make it less likely to skip a day. Once you are there, commit to pushing each other. We can always lift more, run longer and faster, and reach higher when someone is next to us encouraging us.
4. Know Your Why
While having an accountability partner is helpful, it is up to you to follow through. You must remember why you are doing what you are doing, for the times when no one is around you to cheer you on. Are you working out to improve your body? Do you want to challenge yourself or enter a competition? It is hard to put in the work of being consistent when you are alone, but it is important. Remind yourself of your “why” when you are tempted to give up, put on your favorite music, and get to work.
Consistency, not perfection, will get you where you want to go. How do you stay consistent in your goals?