Start with Consistency
So you've made the plunge. You've decided it's time to make a change and achieve that goal. Now what?
Making a plan is important, but even more important is sticking to your plan. So often in my past, I made a plan that was overly ambitious, complicated, and difficult to stick to. In these instances, it didn't take long before I had a rough day and forgot to follow through with my laundry list of tasks that I planned to accomplish my goals. I made schedules which varied day by day, and I set very high expectations from the get go. I'll admit - I had gusto... but with that came repeated failure to stick to my plan. And so often, I would get frustrated and quit.
One of the best things you can do to get your journey started on the right foot is create a plan that you can stick to consistently. The key here is that you have to be consistent, unwavering, devoted. You must have a full, true understanding of yourself and your present capabilities. Then, you can calibrate your expectations around daily goals and action plans that are achievable. (This is why it's important to know where you are starting from! More on that here.)
John Maxwell, American author of many books on the topic of leadership and personal growth, once said, "Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time." This quote is great to keep in mind when brainstorming and developing an action plan to achieve your goals. There are two main portions of this quote that I'd like to dive into - the action and the result.
"Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day..."
As an overly-ambitious person, I typically have high expectations for myself. It's great to have high aspirations, but set that bar too high, and you'll find yourself getting disappointed when you don't meet it. It builds frustration and can be quite discouraging - especially when you're falling short of your goals every day. This is why goals should be small, achievable, and doable daily, even more so when you are just getting started. Read 10 pages of a book every day. Spend 15 minutes exercising every day. Meditate for 5 minutes a day. You get the idea - small, daily, achievable goals. You may even find that once you're 15 minutes into that workout or one chapter into that book that you've got such good momentum that you want to keep going. Even better!
"...lead to great achievements gained slowly over time."
Slowly. Over time. It takes patience, and it happens slowly - but it happens. And it's even easier to see that progress if you have measurable benchmarks along the way. It'll be hard to see in the moment, but if you stick with that consistency, you will see a change.
If you keep your consistency for long enough, you may find that it becomes part of your routine. You will start looking forward to spending time in the gym or studying for your upcoming exam. Once you adapt to your routine, you can iterate on your goals and set the bar a little higher. Then wash, rinse, repeat!
My challenge to you: Set a daily, achievable goal and be consistent in achieving it for a month. Make sure to record where you are now so that you can reflect on any changes in a month. Me? I'm going to drink 84 oz. of water every day for a month. What are you going to do?