6 Steps to Consistency
August 14th, 2019
You already have a routine, even if you aren’t super aware of it, and because your routine is so automatic, becoming consistent in something new can actually be easier than you think!
While it’s easy to add “going to the gym” to your long to-do list, doing it isn’t always that easy. It can often add to your anxiety of being able to get all the “other things” on your to-do list done. So how do we factor in consistency with everything else we have going on in one 24-hour day?
The trick to being consistent starts with understanding and breaking it all down. Make it feel easier by looking at the parts rather than looking at consistency as a whole. Generally speaking, consistency is the result of forming a habit. A habit forms from repetition of behavior over time due to specific cues in your environment. As this behavior becomes more automatic or natural, routines form.
Take a moment to think about what your routine looks like now. Chances are it’s filled with habits you’ve had for a long time, and a lot of those habits you don’t even have to think about anymore, you just do them! For example, putting your clothes out before bed, brushing your teeth, putting a pot of coffee on, packing your kids’ lunch, a set bedtime, etc. You already have a routine, even if you aren’t super aware of it, and because your routine is so automatic, becoming consistent in something new can actually be easier than you think!
There are tons of ways to become more consistent, but today we are giving you some simple steps towards becoming more consistent.
- Make a list of your personal values - values will help you decide what goals need to be set and what’s most important to YOU. Your values indicate the “why” behind your actions.
- Set goals – Goals help guide your behavior in the right direction. Setting goals can be challenging but can be easier to achieve when they are clearly defined and realistic. Rather than making a list of 5 to 10 goals you have for the year; start with one goal you’d like to work towards. For example, instead of setting a goal of losing 20 pounds in two weeks, focus on what needs to be done to support weight loss (i.e. eat more vegetables, increase water intake, speak to a nutritionist, etc.)
- Predict difficult situations and develop precommitments – Anytime we aim to start something new, we are bound to run into barriers and interruptions. This could be anything from having to stay late at work to just simply being unmotivated to do what you planned on doing. We see this a lot with exercise. It’s easier to say, “I’m going to the gym 3 days this week” than it actually is to complete. How do we deal with this? We plan for them and come up with ways (precommitments) to handle it when they do happen. When trying to be more consistent, think about challenges you’ve faced in the past and how you’ve behaved in those situations. Make a plan for how you will approach them differently in a more healthy and efficient way.
- Communicate your intentions (accountability) – The best way to stick to a new plan or tackle a new goal is finding a way to hold yourself accountable. Write it down, find a friend to work toward your goal with you or even just check in with, or seek out a professional (personal trainer or nutritionist). There are tons of ways to hold yourself accountable. Experiment with different ways, track what your progress looks like and identify what works.
- Manipulate your environment – Our environment, and everything in our environment cues our behavior. Modifying your environment can be an excellent tool for engaging in more desirable behaviors and reaching goals you set. This can look different from person to person, depending on what goals you’ve set. For example, surrounding yourself with people who have similar goals is a great way to keep yourself on track. Emptying your fridge and buying healthier food options is a way to be more consistent with nutrition. Start brainstorming some ways you can remind yourself to hit your goal!
- Be honest with yourself – Acknowledging that reaching a goal is not going to be easy is important. Be patient with yourself, and more importantly be honest. Write things down, even the behaviors that weren’t in alignment with your goals. Don’t shy away from the challenge when things get frustrating. Make a conscious decision to move forward in the direction of your values when things get tough. Go back through these steps and rework things. You’ll find what works best for you!