Everything You Think About Consistency is Wrong

3 Fundamental Reframes To Motivate You to Keep Going and Enjoy the Climb

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Photo by Jonathan Hoxmark on Unsplash

1. Consistency is not preparation, right timing, or perfect conditions; consistency is doing the thing and continuing to do it, no matter what.

Before we had twins, we prepped a lot. We took classes, from tandem breastfeeding to daddy boot camp. We stocked up on everything that anyone recommended. We built a nursery, read What to Expect, and joined mothers of multiples.

After we had twins, we understood how unprepared we really were. We went from two high-functioning heavily-scheduled career-minded people with big plans, to four people with very different agendas, overnight.

It wasn’t that we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into; it was that we didn’t contemplate the full force of the change. Our new lives bore no resemblance to adulthood thus far.

The babies ate every two hours in those first few weeks, and when they weren’t eating, they were pooping, crying, or needing attention. We were at a loss. There was no time to workout, clean the house, respond to emails, or do anything that we previously enjoyed.

Sleep-deprived, disconnected from each other, trying to sift through the responsibility to see a glimpse of our old lives, it was a low-point in our marriage.

The pediatrician tried to reassure us, our parents tried to empathize, but we were drowning and needed a life raft.

I talked to a twin mom who was a few years ahead of us, but not so far ahead that she couldn’t remember the struggle. She was direct, “You’re must put them on a schedule. It’s the only way.”

We didn’t know where to start or how to do it, so we took the easiest, most straightforward first steps.

Eat. Play. Sleep.

The babies would eat at the same time, which would free up as much as an hour. When you haven’t slept in 72, a whole hour seems like heaven. Then, the babies would play. The playtime would stimulate them, making them tired and satisfied. Then, the babies would sleep.

The minute they fell asleep, I would too, or hubby would, or we both would, but if for some reason we didn’t, one of us would throw in a load of laundry, run the dishwasher, order supplies, or let the dog out. And then, it would start all over again.

When you’re in that grind, you have no idea what day it is, if it’s morning or night. I only showered when I smelled, and we didn’t venture out except to walk the dog. We were in survival mode.

It felt merciless like we were in another reality where life was waaaaaaaay more intense. My body wasn’t my own and it felt as though we were failing a critical test.

But it worked, we did survive, and the stages, in retrospect, were fleeting.

I share that to illustrate that there was no amount of prep that we could have done that fully poised us for what we actually had to do. The only way for us to know what it was, was to jump in and experience it. There was no best time, or ideal conditions, perfect plan, or guarantee. Knowing that it might be amazing or might wreck us, we did it anyway.

It was crushing and demanding and relentless and perfect. The joys, heartache, pressure, love, and everything about it made us confront our humanity, beliefs, integrity, and commitment.

At some point along the way, we surrendered. We stopped trying to control it, orchestrate it, to ensure it worked out, and we started to enjoy it, learn from it, respond to everything new, re-evaluate, and keep going.

Eat. Play. Sleep. We followed the same schedule for nine years because our children trust us, we trust the process, and we can add to it, implementing increasingly sophisticated ideas and goals, built on a strong foundation. When our kids are well-fed, well-rested, and have an outlet for their physical, social, emotional, and intellectual needs, they are amazing children — that’s the power of consistency.

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Photo by Allie on Unsplash

2. Consistency doesn’t require money, time, a network, or resources; consistency requires follow-through, inspiration, and commitment.

The best way to build relationships is through consistency. First, you build trust by intentionally showing up in the way you promised. Then, you meet the expectations you set, because it sets a tone for reciprocity, generosity, and anticipation — that’s follow-through.

Consistency is what separates the amateurs from the pros. Sure, some are more talented than you, some are more well funded, some have something that you just don’t have, but if you keep going long enough, your competition’s advantages will diminish.

Your consistency will make up for anything you lack, and it will all even out over time. You’ll both get to the finish line, you’ll both achieve what you want, and you’ll both win. Somewhere along the way, you’ll realize that you aren’t really competing at all — that’s inspiration.

Set your sights on the outcome, don’t over-invest in the goal. That way, if you get off track, it isn’t a deal-breaker; your plan can shift and flow with your life. We all have seasons; play to your strengths. Do it your way, but learn from those who already won.

Front-load everything: your day, your week, your month, your year, by achieving as much as possible straight out of the gate before hurdles and challenges, disruptions, and pandemics derail you. You could have never seen them coming anyway.

Make your plan, and resolve to achieve it 20–50% faster. That early traction will mean everything; very few of us can sustain the discipline, stamina, and consistency it takes to crush it every day. Consistency will create results that will influence your mindset and be motivating. You’ll get what you want, which will make life better and push you farther, and even if it’s baby steps, it will compound in ways you can’t possibly imagine.

Stop doing the things that are getting in your way, honor your boundaries. Honor your efforts. Keep going — that’s commitment.

All along the way, celebrate big wins and little victories. When you’re in it, it seems like it’s taking forever. Looking too far ahead can be overwhelming because there’s too much to do, to learn, and so many steps to take, but that’s why you measure the gains, not the gaps. It won’t seem possible, but if you keep going, your progress will be stunning.

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Photo by Norbert Tóth on Unsplash

3. Consistency is not the longest streak or the most grandiose plan; consistency is micro habits that make momentum easy.

Before COVID, I set a goal to ride 450 CycleBar rides by my 45th birthday, and I was on track to achieve that. My birthday is in late May, and the spin studio shut down in late March. The owner offered to rent me a bike so that I could stay on track with my goal.

I naively thought Quarantine Life was temporary, so I declined. I wanted to be extra present to my family during this bonus time at home, so I thought I would keep up with my goals by riding outdoors, playing with the kids, and supplementing with fitness videos.

And, I did, March-May, I stayed on track. June was a disaster. I hurt my back, and the chiropractor suggested I hit a 30-day pause, and I did because I was in pain and had a bad attitude about turning 45. We were supposed to celebrate in Napa with friends, and then in Europe with family. Both trips were off indefinitely.

In July, I felt better on both fronts and recommitted. Then August came, and it was too hot to do anything, and I stalled again. Now that it’s September, I feel like I’m starting over (again).

I could beat myself up for failing. I could wallow in disappointment for letting myself down. Or I can honor my efforts, accept the very real ramifications of parenting in a pandemic, and keep going.

I know myself well. I know that if I get up and get after it, my day goes better, I feel better, make healthier choices, and am way less judgy. So, I do what I can when I can earlier in the day. Maybe that’s cardio, but sometimes it’s a dog walk, journaling, creativity, or meditation.

The goal is always the same, create expansiveness.

I need me time to be my best self, so I push back against whatever is crowding me out a bit, so I have room to breathe. That’s where I find inspiration, in those open spaces. That’s where I build momentum, when I have the freedom to be me, to connect with my goals, make tangible progress, and observe myself acting in my best interests.

I still track my milestones and care about my goals, but it’s not all or nothing; it’s iterative, sometimes crushing it, sometimes restarting. Instead of being attached to when or how, I commit to the climb, to the journey, and each day, each moment is an opportunity to be amazing.

It’s my mountain, and little by little, every day, I’m getting closer to the top. Every so often, I turn around to look at the view, not just to see how far I’ve come, but because it’s so beautiful that it inspires me to keep climbing.

Written by

Life coach for women. Writer for 29 publications. Happiness, success, productivity, balance, leadership, inspiration. Follow me on Instagram @coachformoms.

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