Gosh, consistency is something that I’ve struggled with for quite some time… It felt almost IMPOSSIBLE as long as the kids were babies/toddlers. My kids were born only 15months apart and the first years weren’t easy at all…
They both were very fussy babies who cried a lot and didn’t sleep through the night. So I seriously didn’t have even one night of uninterrupted sleep for over a year after my son was born.
And once he started to sleep through the night, I was unable to sleep through the night for weeks because my sleep pattern was completely disrupted — and then my daughter was born and it started all over again…
My kids were very good at taking turns sleeping so that there was always at least one of them awake at any given time of the day or the night.
I could have played the main character in any zombie apocalypse movie without having to prepare for the role…
It really was an incredibly challenging time in my life, without any consistency or structure.
So when my son was about 1 ½ I decided I needed something in my life that I enjoyed and did only for myself. Just to keep my sanity.
So I decided to focus on photography and design because that was something I really liked.
And this decision gave me the incentive to learn Photoshop and how to use my DSLR camera properly or how to take great pictures on my iPhone.
So every day during the short period after lunch when both kids were most likely to have a nap at the same time, I did not try to catch up on sleep — even though it was tempting — but worked on my photography & design skills instead.
And to make sure I stuck to my decision, I challenged myself to take one good photo or create one new design every day for a year. And I put those photos and designs up for sale on several print-on-demand websites like Society6 or Redbubble.
What it was like
So that’s what I did. Did I miss a day occasionally when everyone was sick at the same time? Absolutely. But I didn’t let an occasional slip up stop me. I kept going. Overall it was fun and I enjoyed the process.
Was it ALWAYS fun though? Definitively NOT!
I had days when I wasn’t motivated at all. When I didn’t see a point in what I was doing and just wanted to curl up in bed and sleep or cry or possibly do a little bit of both…
But it was important to me not to lose myself completely in this motherhood journey. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids to bits, but during those first sleep-deprived, pain-filled years, it was hard to cling to anything that defined me as a normal human being outside of the motherhood context.
So even if I only had a limited amount of time to work on these things each day — and I never knew how long that would be — I did something for myself and my skills improved significantly and one thing became a stepping stone for the next.
Fast forward a couple of years and here we are and I’m doing live trainings in my own FB group — it still feels a little crazy to me because I would never in my wildest dreams have imagined that I would ever volunteer to do live videos on the internet… I hated doing video! I thought that’s only what attention-seeking weirdos do. Oh well. Here we are. LOL
The compound effect
Never underestimate the power of the compound effect! Small things that you do on a daily base can have a huge impact on your life. Let’s say you spend only 1h a day working towards your goal. That’s 7h per week. 28h a month, or 365h a year. Do you have any idea how much you can achieve in 365h??
So to all of you who are always thinking “I can’t because I don’t have enough time” — it’s NOT a lack of time, it’s a lack of structure.
Structuring your life
Now let’s get you some structure! Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Know your priorities
This is a big one. You have 24h a day — you need to decide what’s most important to you and structure your day accordingly so that you can fit everything in there that is important to you. For me for example, exercising, learning new things, and mindset work are super important, so I need to make sure I fit them into my day or else I risk getting grumpy.
2. Morning routine
A great way to make sure you get those important things done is to create an optimized morning routine. Mine, for example, includes exercise, listening to audiobooks, journaling, meditation, gratitude, coffee, a healthy breakfast, a shower, and a couple of other things. Yes, I have to get up at 5 to get this all in.
3. Goal setting
Know your goals. Make them as specific as possible and so exciting it borders on terrifying. You want this mix of excitement and slight terror that comes from reaching for something outside of your comfort zone.
4. Daily action steps
Break down your big goals into bite-sized action steps and schedule them so you know exactly what to focus on and when. Use planners, to-do lists, batch tasks wherever possible and block time to maximize your productivity.
Don’t forget to block time for breaks and fun stuff too.
I get it, life happens. But it happens to all of us. When consistency is of the essence, think about ways to automate to stay on track.
6. Eliminate procrastination
Decide to focus on the task at hand and not check FB for the 100th time in 10min. Eliminate as many distractions as possible.
Find a mighty fuel: Use your feelings & emotions, your vision, and your values to create forward momentum.
If you have a grand vision of what you want to achieve and maybe even more importantly, WHY you want to achieve it, it’s easier to stay consistent. Never lose sight of your vision and it will pull you forward when things get tough.
Now there is a bit of a conundrum when it comes to feelings. What if you don’t FEEL like doing the things you are supposed to do on the way to your goal? Should you do them anyway or pivot and try something else?
We’ll have to consider different internal layers to analyze where this feeling is coming from.
Let’s start big: If the vision you’re working towards still makes you jump up and down in excitement, you’re probably still on the right track and should do whatever it is that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Well, unless whatever you’re doing is illegal or otherwise not aligned with your beliefs and values. The end does NOT justify ANY means. If you do something you feel is wrong, then it’s either a limiting belief you’re up against OR you’re doing something that’s not aligned with your values. If people get hurt in the process, you might not want to continue doing it.
Let’s look at another layer: Your knowledge & skillset. Maybe you don’t enjoy this particular task because you’re not good at it YET! In this case, practice, read books, take courses, hire a coach and the chances of you doing this more consistently and with more ease will increase dramatically.
But don’t wait until you feel like you’ve figured it all out — that day might never come… Don’t use your feelings as excuses! If it’s something you just need to get better at, keep doing it! Practice and be ok to suck for a while. Everyone starts at zero.
Those who are successful now weren’t born successful, they became successful because they were ok to start before they ever felt ready, to suck for a while, and to learned along the way.
What if none of the above explains why you dislike doing some things on your to-do list?
It might be time to delete, delegate, or tweak: Are they REALLY necessary or just busywork after all? Delete them. Is there a way to outsource the aspects of your work you’re not particularly fond of? Delegate them. Is there a better way of doing them: Tweak them.
8. Do the mindset work
Make it a habit to work on your mindset every day. Like an ordinary muscle, your mindset needs constant training. It’s not a do-it-once-and-be-done-with-it kind of thing, it’s a process.
As your business grows it requires you to grow your mindset too or else you’ll hit an invisible ceiling and stay stuck at a certain level.
Mindset work helps you gain clarity & confidence. It helps you stop overwhelm, self-doubt, and worry and allows you to re-focus when things seem to spiral out of control. It’s all about learning strategies for dealing with challenging situations.
Because let’s face it, there will always be challenging situations in your life. So for example, I teach my clients techniques from NLP (neurolinguistic programming), CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) meditation, or mindfulness to help them reprogram their minds and equip them with the tool to keep their mindset muscle in top shape.
9. Trust the process
If the only consistency you have is in changing your strategies every couple of days, you don’t give them enough time to gain traction. Train your willpower muscle by learning to resist temptations and by avoiding to look for the easy way out. Avoid unnecessary decisions and stay the course! Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Find people to hold you accountable. That’s definitively one of the biggest perks of working with a coach — you will be held accountable. Don’t get me wrong, you can absolutely find a friend and team up as accountability buddies. I’ve experimented with finding accountability buddies too, but the level of expectation and commitment was just way different.
If your accountability buddy is busy, she might just cancel your check-in call because other things are more important in her life right now. Or over time the calls go from weekly to every other week, to monthly, to awkward silence. Yup, totally speaking from experience here…
Or since you’re buddies — she is much more likely to excuse your inconsistencies and let you off the hook. As a coach, I see you at your highest potential, and I hold that space for you to grow into the person you want to become. That also requires me to hold you to a much higher standard.
So if this is what you need and you would love me to help you implement these strategies, don’t hesitate to reach out to me so that we can discuss how I can support you on your journey. 🙂
PS: In case you haven’t joined my FB group — come on over and join this amazing community of awesome women! Can’t wait to see you there!
Originally published at https://peartreepond.com on November 18, 2019.