Develop the Habit of Consistency to Achieve More Success

Written by on June 24, 2014 in Accountability with 11 Comments

Excellence is a HabitI love the concept of excellence as a habit rather than a specific act of greatness, because it means that we each have the ability to achieve distinction in whatever area of our life we choose to commit ourselves.

Oh, to be sure, there will always be notable exceptions in any field of endeavor, but if you really look into the background of most people who have achieved some measure of success you’ll find they developed their skills and abilities over time, learning and working each day to get better than the day before. It all adds up, and consistency is the key.

It’s not about being perfect. It’s about effort, and when you implement that effort into your life – every single day – that’s when transformation happens. That’s how change occurs. Keep going. Never forget why you started. ~Author Unknown

Consistency is Growing One Step at a Time

To be fair, let’s acknowledge that the notion of “consistency” does have its detractors. Some insist that consistency kills innovation and others say that if what you’re doing day after day isn’t moving you in the right direction it’s a sure track to failure.

Valid points, except that consistency isn’t necessarily doing the same thing every day, it’s taking action to achieve your desired outcome day after day. For example, if your goal is to get fit then you want to consistently exercise, but you will also vary the type of exercise – aerobic one day, strength training the next, etc.

Let’s use an example for my fellow authors. It’s no secret that to achieve any level of success as an author you have to write a LOT, but when you’re working full time and have a family it’s easy for writing to get lost in the shuffle. So you commit to consistently write one hour every single day – some days you may write a paragraph, other days 5 pages. The point is you keep that commitment to consistently write one hour a day regardless of how much you end up with, and over time it will add up, not only by improving your writing skills but also in your productivity.

How Creating a Streak Can Help You Achieve More

I know I’m stating the obvious here, but it needs to be said that before you can hope to achieve consistency you have to take that first step. But for many the first step isn’t the problem, they repeatedly launch new goals (or resolutions) only to quit after a few days or weeks. So how does one muster the motivation to start and keep going?

You’re probably familiar with the term “winning streak” as it’s typically used referring to sports. I’d like to share with you one tactic that has worked like a champ for me, and I learned it a couple of years ago from an article featuring an interview with comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who has a reputation for being a prolific writer. In the article Seinfeld shared that he uses a calendar to create an uninterrupted chain that motivates him to continue writing daily to keep from breaking that winning streak.

To give this a try simply get a calendar that has a full year on one page and stick it up in a visually prominent location. Then you set a goal – let’s say your goal is to drink 8 glasses of water a day for your health. The first day you achieve that goal, you mark a big red X over the date on your calendar. You do it again the next day and the next, and apply your red X’s for each day you achieve your goal and after only a few days you’ve got yourself a winning streak going – and this is where it gets fun!

How long can you keep that streak going?

Don’t beat yourself up if you break a streak, use it to build momentum! Even if you consistently hit your goal just 5 days in a row, then you can start again and make it your goal to beat that record the next time. Keeping a streak alive, even for a short time, provides a power boost that helps to build confidence and commitment.

This method is effective whether you work with someone else or prefer to work on your goals alone because it provides you with a visible way to measure your progress and creates accountability. And if you are the creative type like I am you can easily get pretty artsy fartsy with your calendar! I have mine on the wall next to my desk and it’s decorated with inspirational quotations and images I use to acknowledge and reward myself for hitting new levels of achievement.

Success is not a problem of knowledge, but of consistency. People try something for 3 days, don’t see success, and quit. You have to be consistent over a prolonged period of time to achieve success. The achievers are the ones who continue doing what they are supposed to do over the long haul, while the rest give up. ~Victor Dedaj

Whatever method you use to create consistency in achieving your desired outcome, focusing on taking action each day will create small improvements that you may not even notice at first, but will accumulate over time.

Just try to imagine for a moment … if you begin now to take consistent action every single day toward achieving your most heartfelt dream what a profound impact that would have on your life say in a year, 5 years or 10 years!

Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living  click here.


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  1. Mark

    Once again we find that consistency is key!

    Thanks so much for sharing a very inspirational post Marquita! I really like the very sentence of your post from the unknown author.

    Excellence is a habit, rather than a specific act of greatness! That’s awesome. And don’t even get me stated talking about how things (projects) I’ve started but never did quite see them through!

    I like your idea of using a calendar to track your daily progress and not beating yourself up for any temporary interruptions in your progress.

    Great job! And thanks for sharing your proven methods!
    Mark recently posted…Are You Sick And Tired Of Your Inventory Control Being An Issue? Part FourMy Profile

  2. Hi Marty,

    I love our calendar idea. Your thougts on consisitency are so spot on! It is not about how many of something you do, but that you do it consistency. If we were to practice that model, how far would be be in 5 years. It is exciting to even think about.

    I use that analogy in regards to for instance blog commenting. If I have a goal to consistently comment on my favorite blogs for 1 hour a day and I accomplish this most days, that is a huge accomplishments and will lead to even more comments back to my blog as well. I can apply that same mindset to so many aspects of my business. Thanks for sharing.
    Nathaniel Kidd recently posted…How to Save Money at Local Store ChainsMy Profile

    • martyherald says:

      Welcome back Nathaniel! Glad you like the idea, and of course I can’t take credit for it but I have found that it works very well for me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts – always appreciated. 🙂

  3. Excellent advice as others have said, Jeff Olson in the Slight Edge talks about consistently doing little things each day which have a compound effect. But you have to be consistent to get those rewards.

  4. donna merrill

    Hi Marquita,

    Consistency is a subject that we hear all the time, but you have illustrated it so well in this post. We may hear that word, but have no ideal of how to do it. Your example given by writing things down in a calendar is exactly what I do and it does work well.

    My favorite nugget from this post is when you mention not to beat yourself up if you miss a day. That’s where I think people start to struggle, by expecting too much of themselves. We have to be mindful that we are human! We may have something come up that takes us away from our work. Or even a bright sunny day that we choose to be out and about to feed our soul.

    Great advice!
    donna merrill recently posted…Engagement BloggingMy Profile

  5. Dave

    You know, Marty, every time I see “Author Unknown” in your articles, I think about its probable origin. And more often than not, I know exactly where it comes from 😉

    I like the important distinction you make on the interpretation of consistency. It’s not doing the same things every day, it’s deciding to take action each day towards your desired outcome.

    I suppose that I have actually used this approach without the visual cues of a calendar. And I have stumbled on occasions, but the momentum that is built up over time feeds into the overall path towards progress. I like to call it my perfectly imperfect commitment. Instead of throwing it all away the first time I stumble or fall off the consistency wagon, I accept it is temporary and get back up.

    You know, Marty, your articles are like sitting down with a cup of coffee in a small cafe and just chatting up a friendly conversation. I know I say ‘thank you’ often in my comments, but I do sincerely appreciate your camaraderie in this adventure through the blogosphere 🙂
    Dave recently posted…Front rowMy Profile

    • martyherald says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words Dave, and as far as the “author unknown” well more often than not you’re absolutely right, but we’ll just keep that between friends. 🙂

  6. Sebastian Aiden Daniels

    Some excellent advice. I’m going to go to Barnes and Noble later today and pick up a calendar. I like the idea of keeping a streak. I think it is going to be really helpful. It is so true that accomplishing a little bit every day will eventually get you to where you need to go. All great things are with great effort stretched over long periods of time.
    Sebastian Aiden Daniels recently posted…The Zen of Surfing – Part 4My Profile

    • martyherald says:

      So glad you liked the calendar idea Sebastian, I use mine consistently and since I’m such a visual person anyway it really helps to keep me on track. Hope you find it equally inspiring. 🙂

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