Friday, 20 February 2015


Part 1 of 3: Changing Your Thinking

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    Be realistic. Consistency is a fantastic trait and one that you should definitely work to cultivate. Remember, however, that it's a trait that can take time to practice. You won't be perfectly consistent right away. That's okay! Be kind to yourself when you screw up.
    • Don't make a generalized "be more consistent" plan. Trying to be more consistent in general is just going to be overwhelming. Think about what specific areas in your life require more consistency. Do you need to be consistent about your exercise habits? Do you need to be consistent about your work requirements? Your romantic relationships?
    • You're not going to be consistent 100% of the time. You need to be okay with making mistakes and occasionally getting lax about your consistent habits.
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      Build your willpower. You can't have consistency without improving your willpower. Consistency requires willpower to achieve, because consistency tends to lean towards going to the gym every day, even when you don't feel like it, for example. To do that, you need to have the willpower to do it.[1]
      • Have tricks to boost your willpower. It's really hard to just force yourself through things and not always the best way to accomplish something. For example, if you're trying to be consistent about eating in a healthy way, make sure that you have healthy options on hand for when you're hungry, rather than just going for the unhealthy option.[2]
      • Avoid situations where you will be forced to exert considerable amounts of willpower in order to be consistent. To use the healthy eating example again, don't go grocery shopping after a long, difficult day at work. You'll be more likely to just go for the fastest, easiest option (rarely the healthiest) instead of being consistent about your diet.
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      Make sure your actions match your words. Being consistent means that you don't say one thing while actually doing something else. You can't be inconsistent in your behavior and expect yourself to behave consistently in other parts of your life.
      • For example, if you're looking to be more consistent in your relationship with your significant other, and you tell them that you're going to be better about doing your fair share of the chores, being consistent means that you actually follow through by doing your fair share of the chores.
      • Try to avoid making claims that you can't back up with your actions. There is no shame in admitting you don't yet know how to do something. For example, if you're tasked with something at work that you haven't done before or don't know how to do, don't pretend like you've got everything under control. Instead, ask for some assistance and show your willingness to fill in the gaps in your knowledge.
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      Eliminate negative thinking. Negative thinking is the bane of consistency and of willpower. When you think negatively you are making yourself less likely to be able to hold to your consistent actions.
      • Pay attention to negative thought patterns that will hinder you in the future. There are specific thoughts that have a tendency to run your life: "I can't do this," "I'm stupid (lazy, etc. etc.)."
      • When you do notice these negative thought patterns, turn them around or introduce a more positive or neutral thought. So for example if you find yourself thinking "I can't do this" instead turn it around and think "I'm going to practice doing this, even if I'm not great at it to start with."
      • Figure out what areas you need to work on to make yourself more likely to be consistent. Everyone has areas of themselves that could do with a little work. Perhaps you're really great at being consistent at work, but at home you're constantly forgetting to do all the things you need to.

    Part 2 of 3: Building Your Consistency

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      Set specific goals. General consistency is great, but being consistent is a lot easier and more likely to succeed if you set specific goals. These goals will help you behave consistently and give you something to strive for. You can set a variety of goals in different areas of your life
      • Consider how you want to use consistency to achieve your specific goals. For example, if your specific goal is to lose weight, you would need to work on being consistent with exercise, with your diet (eating healthy foods), etc.
      • As another example: if you want to get a book published, you would need to be consistent about writing each day, about devoting time to editing, about figuring out the publishing world, and sending your manuscript off.
      • A list of goals might look something like this: save up money for retirement, be on time to work, remember to help your significant other at home, getting all your reading completed for your class. Being consistent will mean setting aside a part of your paycheck each month, setting your alarm clock for earlier, taking care of the baby so your significant other can have certain nights off, and carving out time to do all the reading for your class.
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      Make change slowly. If you try and do everything at once all you're going to do is overwhelm yourself. It will make it a lot harder for you to be consistent. Make gradual changes instead of jumping in head first. [3]
      • If you can do something for three weeks, it will become part of your routine. Pick 1 thing you'll work to be consistent in for a month. When that month is up, add another thing to be consistent in.
      • For example: If you have a goal to be a better team player at work, choose a few things that will help you achieve that goal. For a month, practice deferring to others in group projects, or finding ways to incorporate your ideas into theirs. Once you've gotten a handle on that, add another change to your routine.
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      Set specific boundaries. Boundaries will make it easier to be consistent, because then you have a specific limit in which to function, rather than a vague "I'm going to be consistent." Setting a boundary really just means setting constraints on exactly how and when you're going to do certain things.
      • For example: instead of just saying "I'm going to be consistent about appreciating my significant other" you might say "I'm going to thank my significant other when they do things like wash the dishes or make dinner or help out around the house."
      • Another example might be making quality markers for your work. This would mean figuring out certain standards to set. This could mean having your boss at work describe what they thought your best work has been, and trying to make your work consistently up to that standard.
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      Hold yourself accountable. To be consistent you have to make sure that you recognize when you don't come up to the standards and goals that you've set. When you don't act consistently with your goals.[4]
      • On a calendar write down each day whether you succeeded or failed in following your consistency goals. If you failed, explain why you didn't follow them. This will help keep you accountable to when you don't follow your goals and your boundaries and will also serve as a marker of your progress.
      • Tell people you trust about your goals and your attempts to be consistent about various aspects of your life. When they see you not behaving consistently, give them permission to call you out.
      • Don't beat yourself up when you don't hit the mark. No one is perfect and no one is perfectly consistent. You aren't going to be, either. What matters is that you keep working towards your goals and towards consistency.

    Part 3 of 3: Maintaining Consistency

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    Use critical visualization. Visualization, though it may sound silly, can actually aid you a lot if you use it properly. You want to use realistic visualization, that considers the obstacles and set-backs that you may face. [5][6]
    • Daydreaming can also be useful, as long as you limit your time doing it. Give your mind time to range freely each night before you go to bed. This can help you process and assess situations, and help you to keep your consistency and goals, because you'll come up with ways to get past the potential obstacles that might keep you from gaining this skill.
    • Meditation can help control your mind, and you'll need to control your mind (and all its urges) if you want to remain consistent. Try and practice meditating for at least 15 minutes each day. Sit somewhere quietly and breathe deeply. As you breathe focus on your breath. If you find your mind straying, direct your attention back to your breath.
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    Plan for failure. Everyone fails. It doesn't matter how dedicated you are, how intelligent you are, how prepared you are, you aren't always going to succeed. You have to be willing to entertain that possibility and figure out what to do if you don't succeed. How are you going to handle failure?[7]
    • A lot of times the reason people fail to maintain their willpower and their consistency is because they haven't planned for failure. Individual failures mean little to your overall success (for example, getting rejected by the literary agent has only a marginal impact on your overall ability to be published).
    • Plan for your setbacks and failures. If that literary agent rejects your manuscript figure out where next to send it, or look it over to see what might be improved.
    • Consistency doesn't equal perfection, remember. For example, yes a good writer should try and write every day. Life sometimes gets into the way, sometimes you're sick, sometimes you simply don't write. If you start beating yourself up for not writing, you'll make yourself less rather than more likely to be consistent.
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    Increase your motivation. If you don't stay motivated you won't make those changes in your life that allow you to be consistent. You'll fall back into old, less good, patterns of behavior, instead of sticking with the new patterns you're trying to create.[8]
    • Don't tell yourself "I'm not motivated" or even "I'm not feeling motivated today." The more you skip days when you're trying to instill new patterns of thought in yourself, the less likely you are to succeed. Instead, tell yourself "I'm going to practice being motivated today even if I don't feel like it." If you're having a difficult day and you don't want to, for example, do any writing, do less than you normally do. if you write for an hour, cut that down to half an hour, or only write a paragraph instead of a page.
    • Don't try to do too many things at one time. This has been mentioned before, but it's worth repeating. Sort your different goals out one or two at a time. If you're trying to finish your manuscript and improve your consistency at work, and get into shape, you're going to burnout quickly. Instead, work on improving your work ethic and your writing ethic before adding in your exercise ethic.
    • Remind yourself why consistency is important to you. What is it you're trying to accomplish by being consistent? What happens if you fail to be consistent? Keeping these things in mind when you're trying to accomplish your goals and be consistent.


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