The Power of Consistency – A Key To Success
Consistency, on a scale of 1-10 comes in at a high 8 or 9 with regards to its contribution to our success. Consistency is the key to success, and a force of the universe which needs to be harnessed.
A consistent individual forms habits, cultivates new ideas, yet also possesses the power to destroy himself.
I believe that ‘being consistent’ acts as a double-edged sword. It can lead us to success, yet at the same time leave us in the dark forever under the guise of failure.
The Role of Consistency In Our Habits
Consistency plays an important role in our habits, as it is the driving force that cements our daily activities and actions.
Logically ordered, and following the same pattern.
Habits are routines of behaviour that are repeated regularly and tend to occur subconsciously.
Using myself as an example. I’ve experienced repeated failure over the past 2 years trying to gain weight. And as strange as this maybe, it was only until recently that I realised I was making a dear mistake:
I just wasn’t eating enough regularly.
Now that may sound obvious to you, but I’m sure you’re aware of how difficult it is to summon willpower to make positive changes in your life. Day in, day out.
Just because something is simple to achieve, it doesn’t make it easy to achieve.
Simplicity refers to the process. Ease refers to the day-to-day experience of dealing with that specific problem.
Many people believe that if you really want to achieve something badly enough, you’ll make it happen, somehow.
But in my experience, this is anything but the case.
There are some obstacles in life you cannot break down by attempting to force and smash your way through.
Not everyone can be Bruce Banner.
You might have to wait for a specific moment or event in your life to occur, or even for the problem to pass through before you can fully move forward.
This isn’t to say that you should sit twiddling your thumbs expecting the universe to sort your life out for you.
Whilst willpower is required to succeed in any goal of your choosing, it is not the biggest determinant of success.
In fact I’d harbour a strong guess to say it’s not even in the top 5.
Habits are formed through a process called ‘context-dependent repetition’, whereby you form and strengthen mental links between your response to an action and the context it takes place in.
For example, everyday you get home from work, you tune into Sky Sports News, grab a beer from the fridge and have a meal. Overtime, this strengthens until it becomes a focal point of your evening, a new normal – in other words, a strong habit is therefore formed.
According to research, it takes 21-28 days to form a habit – however this has been shown to be a myth by some reputable institutions.
Why Consistency Is The Biggest Determinant of Our Success
Like I mentioned above, our habits are the nuts and bolts of our mental make-up. The reason why our habits are so tightly ingrained and are carried out almost subconsciously, is because we have taught our bodies and our minds exactly what we want from them.
This is the key point of today’s post.
Teaching your body and mind exactly what you want from them is where success comes from.
Why Some Habits Stick, And Others Come Unstuck
Have you ever wondered why some habits stick, and why others come unstuck?
It is all to do with how your body perceives that particular action, regardless of how beneficial it is.
If it provides some form of great enjoyment and entertainment on a consistent basis – you will subconsciously continue to perform the same action in order to receive the same level of heightened satisfaction.
Nerds love to call this ‘the dopamine effect’.
This is also partly why addictions are so difficult to let go of.
Can you imagine how hard it would be to change a habit that has been built up over years, especially if you intend to replace it with a habit on the other side of the spectrum?
For example, someone who drinks 4 cans of Foster’s every single day for 15 years, suddenly tries to replace it with water, a direct opposite.
To illustrate this example a bit better, here’s a challenge for you.
- Take an underweight teenager who consumes less than 1,500kcal per day and has never eaten pepper in his life.
- Feed him a diet high in fibre and protein at 3,500kcal with hot chilies and spices.
- Watch in awe at his body’s response.
Two things I’ll be certain of:
- He won’t finish even half of his diet for the day
- He will be sitting on a toilet seat for the rest of the day due to the stark change in his diet.
So how do I know it feels like this?
Because I was that teenage boy.
And I can assure you, no amount of willpower can break through that obstacle.
Gradual Habit Replacement – The Power of Consistency
The power of consistency is truly realised through a process I’ve coined, called ‘gradual habit replacement’.
This can be used to slowly weed away unwanted habits, whilst substituting it for a positive habit without causing a shock to your system.
Two birds, one stone.
Doing this will in-turn create the mental links required to achieve your goals as you are strengthening and re-establishing the same actions, time after time. The same can be applied to muscle memory regarding any physically or mentally demanding sport.
It takes an extensive amount of time to properly instil a new habit, because your body has registered the stimulus as ‘new’ and ‘foreign’. This will take even longer if your new habit is completely opposite to your old habit.
Your system will proceed to react violently because you’re disrupting the very essence that is keeping your body and mind in its current state.
A few examples of these include:
- Trying to improve flexibility
- Saving every last penny of disposable income, despite being renowned as a spendaholic
- Going to bed early and waking up early
- Quitting smoke, drug, drink or sex/porn addictions
- Becoming a confident socialite, after suffering from anxiety and self-esteem issues for years
- Switching from writing on paper, to typing
- Eating six meals a day, from two meals a day to gain weight
- Using scissors on your left hand, after 20 years of using your right hand
- Always playing a new video game on the hardest difficulty setting, to switching to ‘easy’ on a new title
You get the idea.