Our Love-Hate Relationship with Consistency

Written by on May 19, 2021 in Perseverance, Self-Determination

Noted Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde once called consistency “The hallmark of the unimaginative.”

American author and art historian Bernard Berenson agreed, having referred to consistency as a sure formula for being as ignorant today as you were a year ago.

Our handy online dictionary defines consistency simply as the application of something, or adherence to the same principles in a steadfast way.

In other words, repetition.   

The paradox of consistency is that it can be both a blessing and a curse.

In the early stages of creating anything – from a piece of art to your future – repeating what you’ve always done will prevent you from discovering how much you can do and far you can go.

The daily routines we establish can save time and energy at the risk of preventing us from being fully aware of our surroundings.

Driving to work the same route every day, doing the same exercises in the same way, and at the same time, eating the same foods, are examples of such behaviors.

I know a man who has taken the same lunch to work – tuna fish sandwich on white bread with an apple – every day for years!

Doing the same thing day after day may provide a sense of comfortable familiarity, but it can also lead to building a wall of resistance to change and growth.

So then, how can it be that the experts in virtually every field attribute the habit of consistency to achieving success?

Let’s look at two examples.

Consistency Builds Trust and Loyalty

Personally and professionally, we are far more likely to trust those who are dependable, consistently behaving in ways that show us they will be there for us in good times and bad.

It is less about repetition than accountability.

This form of consistency is about your ability to be responsible for your choices, decisions, and actions. People know where they stand with you.

It is building trust and establishing a reputation for keeping your word.

Consistency Leads to Sustainable Growth

This is without question the most misunderstood application of consistency.

Rather than repetition, the goal is evolution.

Learning, growing, and gradually adapting your actions in a way that leads to incremental improvements over time.

Yes, there will always be notable exceptions in any field of endeavor.

But if you look in the background of most people who have achieved some measure of success, you will find they developed their skills and abilities over time, learning and working each day to get better than the day before.

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.

Maybe you long to write a book or make your living as a writer.

It’s no secret that to achieve any level of success in this field you have to write a LOT, but the busyness of life can easily get in the way and before you know it, days have passed before you’ve written a word.

You must be willing to treat writing as a discipline, rather than waiting for the little blue flame of inspiration to strike.

So, you commit to consistently write at least one hour every single day – some days you may write a paragraph, other days 5 pages.

The point is to keep that commitment to consistently write regardless of how much you end up with.

Over time the discipline and motivation to keep going will come easier as you begin to see improvement in your writing skills as well as your productivity.

It all adds up.

Consistency is harder when no one is clapping for you. You are the key to your success. Believe in and encourage yourself, celebrate the small wins, and grow from the occasional stumble.

The Takeaway

Whatever change or challenge you may be facing, taking consistent growth-oriented action will create steady improvements that add up over time.

You may not even notice them at first but one day you will look back and marvel at how far you’ve come.

What if you begin now to take one step forward every day with the simple goal of becoming a little better, a little stronger, a little further along, than you were yesterday?

Can you imagine what a profound impact that would have on your life in a year, 5 years, or 10 years!

Consistency daily is the key to achieving amazing long-term results.

Will you be the passenger or driver in your life journey?
About Marquita A. Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach, and founder of 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 Start Here.



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