On Consistency

Do you ever find that your deepest-held values are the ones that often intimidate you the most? Consistency is like that for me. I preach it nearly as often as I preach Jesus. Clearly I should have blogged about it a long time ago. It is a cornerstone component of my life. And yet… talking about it makes me nervous.

Why?

Because I’m so often the opposite of consistent, that’s why. As soon as I start talking about consistency in one area, I immediately start thinking of ways I’m horribly inconsistent in other areas. So I’m just gonna say it: I am a work in progress.

In this article, I’m going to talk a little bit about why I believe consistency is so important, give examples of some areas where I do pretty well and some where I could improve, and (I hope) inspire you to pick an area of growth to focus on in your own life. Ready? Here we go.

Why Consistency Matters

There are a lot of philosophies out there on how to implement lifestyle changes. From productivity to weight loss to budgeting, you can do a Google search, read some stuff, and find pretty much any method. Some methods work better for some people. I have heard people make convincing cases for massive, imperfect action to boost yourself into change and progress. I have heard that “fast is easy, slow is never.” And I’ve also heard that the way you eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

Depending on your personality, some of these quick efforts to blast through obstacles or bad habits may sound appealing to you. The often sound appealing to me to, and I may jump on a bandwagon for awhile, but I jump off pretty quickly, usually for one reason: Overwhelm.

I take on a lot. I often think I have more time, energy, and ability than what I really do. Not only do I take on a lot, but also I tend to pile it on very suddenly. When reality sets in, I’m buried under a pile of things I said I’d do, trying to juggle too many things at once. I’m a terrible juggler. I get too many balls in the air and I start dropping them, usually with catastrophic results.

Right now, I’m reading Atomic Habits by James Clear, and it’s really resonating with me. I’m still not very far into the book, but what he says about changing your life slowly, with small, consistent changes implemented over time, is something I can really agree with. It is what has always worked the best for me. Maybe I need to change a lot of things, but the idea of changing a lot all at once is intimidating. Changing one small thing, and sticking with that, well that’s not so bad. Anyone can do that. Do that enough times in the course of a few years and you’ll find yourself looking back and realizing just how much you’ve transformed your life.

What It Looks Like For Me

As I said, some I am more consistent in some areas than others. These are not necessary things I am naturally good at or enjoy. They are things I’ve made a consistent, conscious effort to work at. They include:

  • Drinking water. Although I’m not great at doing this throughout the day, I do make an effort to stay hydrated. For me, that starts in the morning with a glass or two of water, usually with a quarter of a lemon, right after I wake up. I also choose water rather than most other drinks, and I try to keep it with me or at least visible so I remember to drink it.
  • Working out. My goal is to exercise for at least 10 minutes 3-5 times a week, and to average at least 2 hours of exercise per week, which obviously means at least one of my workouts has to be around an hour. I do that consistently. I also do the same workout at Planet Fitness once a week pretty consistently. What I’m not great at is sticking to a particular plan or program. I can do it for a few weeks, maybe up to a month, but then I get bored and have to move on to something else. The important thing to me, though, is that I’m doing something and continuing to see progress.
  • Reading my Bible. I track my daily Bible reading through the Bible app from YouVersion, which says I have opened the app 199 times this year, with 27 perfect weeks. If my math is right, that means I have missed less than seven days this entire year. This is a huge improvement from last year, and I can feel that improvement in my spiritual health and general peace of mind. Participating in reading groups with friends and posting the verse of the day on Instagram most days helps me a lot with this.

There are probably a few other things I consistently do well if I thought about it, but whenever I start thinking about what I do well, I also think about areas where I could really improve. Here are some of those:

  • Meal planning. I do this sometimes, and it really helps, but I’m not consistent. I use emeals, which is great, but often I’ll get home with a week’s worth of dinner food and nothing for breakfast. (Hint: emeals actually offers lunch and breakfast plans too, if you’re interested) But sometimes I don’t want to use emeals. I’d rather cook something fun I found on Pinterest. Or I just want to have tacos every Tuesday. You can only have tacos on Tuesday if you remember to buy the taco shells. I could go on but you get the idea. Meal planning is a frequent source of frustration and I want to do better at it. If you’d like to try emeals our for yourself, I’ve got a referral link for you. If you decide to purchase a meal plan with this link, I’ll save a little money on my plan. Try emeals today.
  • Writing. Yes, that’s right, I’m a writer who struggles to write consistently. And you know what? I wrote a book on this! And I still don’t do it. Sheesh, get it together, Allie.
  • Financial tracking and planning. I almost don’t even want to talk about this one. Let’s just say, poor money practices lead to money poor. You know what I mean? Okay.
  • Time blocking. I just discovered this method a few months ago (thank you, Amy Landino!) and it has changed my life. Or at least, it would if I’d do it more consistently. I actually discovered how effective it is for me by doing it for a few weeks and then getting lazy and not doing it. Yeah. I’m totally getting back into that.

If you have any suggestions regarding any of my issues listed above, I’m open to hearing them. Please contact me or comment on this post.

What Could It Look Like For You?

Okay, enough about me. Let’s talk about you. What areas of your life could be improved by a small, consistent change? What action can you take today, and then tomorrow, and then every day for the foreseeable future, in order to make those changes? Talk to me. Post a comment or send me an email, or connect with me on the social networks. And don’t forget to subscribe to my email list if you enjoyed this post and would like to know when I publish new content.

Now . . . go! Transform your life with one small change today.

2 thoughts on “On Consistency”

  1. Great points about the benefits of consistency! Something I definitely struggle with (not so fun when you don’t see immediate results). Atomic Habits is a must-read.

    Reply
    • I forgot to mention the part about consistency being difficult because you don’t see results right away. That is true. It takes a lot of self-discipline and commitment to stay consistent. It does get a little easier when you start seeing the benefits. And it is SO worth it! Thanks, Amy!

      Reply

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