I don’t feel like writing this tonight. I’ve been struggling all week to write for one reason or another. This is the closest I’ve come to not posting and I’m unsettled by that truth.
I struggle with consistency and I have my whole life. When I was younger I’d assemble only the borders of the puzzle, color half a picture, and change my interests by the week. I love starting things, but I don’t always finish them. So, while I started this blog to help others, it has actually helped me improve one of my greatest weaknesses- consistency.
As I went through college, grad school and residency, I noticed that I was getting better at completing projects or I thought I was. I was consistently finishing what I set out to do… until I finished residency and realized I had been lying to myself. I hadn’t gotten better at being consistent. The success I had experienced was because I had been held accountable for the last 8 years. I guess you could say that the ten year old in me had not decided to finish the puzzle on her own, but had someone standing over her for grad school and residency making sure that she did.
Everything I accomplished was at least partially the result of being held accountable by external motivators. So, this website and blog has been one long lesson in developing internal consistency when there is no external accountability.
I don’t think I’m alone (or I hope I’m not). I think there are other people out there that graduate and struggle to produce consistently once deadlines and requirements are removed.
As I type this 30 minutes past my bedtime, I realize I may not have become better at consistency (I took the whole week off from writing). However, I have become better at keeping my inconsistency in check (I’m going to post no matter what). So, I’d like to share with you the three lessons I’ve learned in consistency (and in the process will continue my posting streak)…which brings me to point number one.
#1 Don’t break the streak.
Tonight, the main reason I am posting is because not posting would actually be harder. Consistency breeds consistency. When I’m tired, feel overworked, or just unmotivated I think about breaking the streak I’ve worked so hard to keep alive. I will do whatever it takes to avoid breaking the streak.
#2 Follow goals, not feelings.
Feelings can have no logic behind them. I was once mad for an entire day at my best friend because she was mean to me in the dream I had the night before. Don’t give your feelings more power than your goals (sometimes they are illogical). I started this post by stating that I did not feel like writing. That couldn’t have been more true. Luckily, my goals don’t care about my feelings. As Julius Erving said, “Being a professional is doing the things you love to do even on the days you don’t feel like doing them.”
#3 It has already been decided.
I already decided I would post every single week, no matter what. I put in writing I will write one blog post per week for 2017. I can tell myself I don’t have time or that I deserve a week off, but I don’t feel like I have a choice of whether or not to post. Reminding myself that it has already been decided removes any bargaining or excuses. Even if I don’t feel like posting, I already decided that I would…
So, start (and keep) a streak, accept your feelings, but follow your goals, and stop debating with yourself because it has already been decided you’d do it.
Being accountable is good…. but being consistent is what it takes to be better than good enough.
Are you consistent or accountable?