Coaching, Discipline, Self-Cultivation|April 13, 2009 11:50 am

How to develop consistency of action

It’s surprising how difficult it is to develop a new habit, but learning how to do it well is a skill well worth developing. Literally anything important that we aim to accomplish in the future requires creating the habits today.

The moral of the story behind the turtle and the rabbit race should be less “slow and steady wins the race” and more “slow and steady develops great habits which can then help you win races”. This lesson is becoming harder and harder for our society to learn because we are use to getting everything quickly. A few keystrokes will get us the information we need. A bit of money will buy whatever you need.

But relationships cannot be bought or developed instantaneously. Our bodies can’t be transformed on a dime. Nor can our ideas be forced to drip from our minds and take shape without incubation.

So are you trying to develop a consistency of action? Here are a few tips I’ve found helps:

  • Be clear about the capacity you want to develop and the habit needed to develop it. The habits for developing a healthy body are clear, but what about the habits for a healthy mind? What done consistently over time will actually generate results?
  • Be specific and concrete about the habit. If it’s reading a book, then what kind of book? How many pages will you read? What notes will you take?
  • Make it easy and convenient to do. I leave my guitar at the top of my stairs so that I see it every day. When I need a short break, I pick up the guitar and practice a few chords.
  • Initially, don’t be too concerned about quality. Just do something, anything. Get in your 15 minutes of working out even it’s jumping jacks in your basement because you don’t have time to get to the gym. Force yourself to write just a single line in your blog even when you can’t think of anything.
  • Know that anything we do will initially feel difficult to do, but once the habit is developed, it becomes easier to do. Our unconscious is not developed in a day!
  • When the habit becomes routine, try to one-up it so that it is a little more challenging. When twenty push-ups become easy, reach for thirty push-ups. When calling three people a day about your business becomes easy, try doing it in less time.
  • Be accountable to someone, something, or some idea. Coaches hold accountability, but so do friends or the dream inside you that you remember every day.

These are just a few tips. How do you develop consistency of action every day?

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