About two years ago, shortly after starting this re-incarnation of BinaryWords, my friend María gave me a piece of advice: putting together a calendar to plan when to write the blog articles. I thought it was a really good idea, and simplifying it to make it a bit easier for myself, I decided to write a new blog post every week.
Two years later, I have to say I´m proud of being able to keep this cadence. Though I do have to confess that, given my tendency to leave certain things until the last moment, my "weekly post" strategy quickly became "Sunday night´s post", reaching the point when there are literally no more hours in the week 🙂
But the strategy served me well, and still does. Not breaking my promise is what motivates me to sit down in front of the keyboard every Sunday, no matter where I am, or whether I feel like writing or not. I´ve written posts from airports, trains, country homes, and even from an inflatable mattress in my friend´s living room. Very often I´ve run into the early hours of the morning, technically getting the publication done on the Monday. But that´s not the point; the point is that the posts have continued to publish.
And I´ve continued to write.
Even when I didn´t feel like it.
Like today, for example.
And this is something that happens in every field: do you think athletes feel like going to their training sessions every day? Even when the weather is bad, when they feel physically unwell, or when they´re demotivated? No way. But they do it regardless, because they know it´s important to be consistent; it´s what allows them to make progress towards their goals.
And when I say athletes, I could say anything really; any activity that we take seriously and want to make progress on requires consistency: painting, writing, exercising, playing an instrument... All of this, of course, requires discipline, but there are also a few tricks that may help us:
- Make it easy for yourself: set a realistic goal for your activity, book specific time in your calendar for it, and aim to reduce as much as you can the effort required to get started. For example, if you´re planning to go for a run in the morning, the previous evening you can prepare your clothes, place your runners by the door, etc.
- Don´t think about it: us human beings are specialists at making emotional decisions and then justifying them rationally. If you start overthinking it and bargaining with yourself, you´re almost certain to find reasons not to do the activity. It´s time to do it, and that´s what it is, go for it!
- Do it, even if it´s just a little bit: the hardest part of all is getting started, so if you find that you´re not motivated enough to complete the full activity, at least commit to doing part of it, like for example, running for five minutes. When time is up, give yourself permission to stop (if you still need it), or to continue, which will probably be a lot easier now that the initial resistance barrier has been broken.
What about you? How good are you at consistency? In which areas of your life do you find it easier to stay consistent, and in which ones it´s more difficult? What motivates you to get started even on days when you don´t feel like it?
Let´s remember the words of Pablo Picasso, referencing the arts in this case, but applicable to any goal or objective in life: