Do you remember what the number one key to success is?
Famous writers talk about their practices of just sitting down to the computer to write x number of words or y pages each day, regardless of what they feel like.
There are a million inspirational quotes or statements about athletes doing what needs to be done in the rain, sleet or snow; stating that is their key to success.
That should make us feel good, shouldn’t it? We can do whatever we want as long as we’re consistent at it long enough. Phew!
Does it make you feel that way though?
Maybe some days. Especially when first getting started.
The flip side of consistency is that, other than the famous 10,000 hours, there is no real finish line or measuring stick for how long you specifically will need to consistently show up for something before you reap the benefits.
For every quote or inspirational statement about sticking with something, there is one related to staying with it when you REALLY want to quit, because that’s the moment it all might pay off.
Again, if I dummy this down, it should make me feel good—I literally just have to keep at something until it pays off. That’s it.
Hmm, how do you feel? Do you feel good?
I’m not sure “inspired” is the word I’d use to describe how I’m feeling after that statement…
In fact, as a Strengths Finder “Activator” and person with ADHD, the idea of consistency can actually make me pause and hesitate. I like starting new things, new adventures.
What do I do when either of these tendencies fires up and I start trying to rebel against the consistency I know I need to be with to create the thing I want to create?
I’d like to say that I just do it. Sometimes I do. And sometimes I don’t.
When I’m really struggling, I FIRST acknowledge that this is thing I’m doing or feeling or experiencing, is literally that-just that one part of me showing up, doing that thing I know it does. I acknowledge that this also isn’t unique to me. I’m not a unicorn or a terrible person.
Then, I do one of two things. The first thing I often do is pull out my project plan and reread my WHY, why the heck I started this thing in the first place. This works OFTEN. Recentering myself around this project and why it’s important to me, as well as my purpose, who I’m setting out to be in the world, the impact I’m setting out to create is a sure way to move me through some consistency blues. The other thing I know to do is to reinvent the task I have at hand. If I have to write for a certain timeframe or pages or words, I try to change the location, get a special beverage, try dictation instead of writing or divvy it up into smaller steps. I ALWAYS go back to my life mantra: “tiny steps are better than no steps.” If I have to write for 5 minutes four different times, instead of 20 minutes in one go, I do it. This is a key reason I use time as my guide for a lot of my tasks; when I start to struggle it’s easier to break it down. Take cleaning—if I want to clear my office for 20 minutes, I can break that down easily according to time; personally, I would have a harder time believing that “just cleaning the desk” was really going to make “cleaning the office” easier. And everyone is different, do what works for you.