The more successful people I’ve talked to , and the more books about success I’ve read, it became obvious very fast that consistency is the key to achievement.
As a matter of fact, if you really think about it, absolutely any goal worth achieving in your life will require a mind boggling number of consistent repetitions.
Coupled with the fact that those reps are usually boring and monotonous this makes consistency one of the hardest things to master in life.
For the reasons mentioned above I’ve also struggled with consistency most of my life, and I’m sure you guys reading this will definitely be able to relate to that.
Until I figured this out, my life was a mess, I could barely stick with anything for a longer than a week.
At the first sign of boredom, discomfort or if some other more flashy thing appeared I would instantly give up whatever I was doing.
Now it actually makes sense to me why I couldn’t achieve anything worthwhile in the era of my life. – I lacked the key element, the glue that makes success possible.
All things considered I’m happy I had to go through that phase because I doubt I would’ve ever figured out what was wrong with my life.
The lack of consistency lead me to hit rock bottom early on so I had time to learn from my mistakes. – Unfortunately most people learn this hard lesson too late to do anything about it.
In this article I’ll talk about a key lesson, I would even call this an epiphany, that allowed me to master consistency and get to where I am today.
Discovering The ‘All or Nothing’, ‘Go Big or Go Home’ Mindset
There is definitely something very exciting, courageous about setting a big new goal and going all-out to achieve it.
For as long as I can remember this my biggest strengths. – Right off the bat I would go all-out to make it happen.
For this reason when I was starting with gym I went to seek out the most successful people in the field.
On top of that I bought dozens of books about exercise and nutrition, and every day I spent hours reading these books.
When I finished the books I switched over to articles and forums to the point where I became obsessed with every tiny detail.
Looking back my rationale for this behavior was “I just want the best for myself, if I’m gonna do this I’m gonna do it right.”
As a result of accumulating all this knowledge I was way ahead of any other gym newbie even though my body didn’t yet reflect the information I had stored in my mind.
For the most part this knowledge + taking massive action with the help of my mentors helped me achieve amazing results in a very short period of time.
Of course this was great but little did I know about the dark side of the ‘Go Big or Go Home’ mindset which soon made it one of my biggest weaknesses.
The Dark Side of The ‘All or Nothing’ Thinking
Have you ever decided to do go to the gym or to track your diet, only to soon cancel or procrastinate on it? — For most of us mortals that answer is a big YES.
This is where I started to realize the flaw of my biggest strength.
I would be tracking my diet and eating healthy for a while but then something would happen in my life. – I would travel or it would be a super busy day and I would rationalize “I’ll do it tomorrow properly”.
Same happened with going to the gym, maybe I would get a bit less sleep and I say to myself “It’s gonna be a sh**ty workout anyways, let’s move it tomorrow.”
Or a very common one was that due to a busy schedule I had only about 20 minutes of free time which was not enough to do my full workout.
When this would happen I would just say to myself: “Well, since I can’t do the full routine might as well not even try. Let’s do it properly tomorrow.”
Why waste time for 20 minutes of training if you can’t get your full workout done?
This reason seem rational enough to me, and after a while 1 year into training with great results I started slacking.
First thing I noticed was that my lifts weren’t improving, I was either lifting the same weight or less weight because I just didn’t have enough consistency to practice the movement.
Secondly I noticed that my abs were fading away because of all those days where I didn’t manage my diet because “I was too busy” to spend 5 minutes in MyFitnessPal.
The “all or nothing” mindset made me think I had to choose nothing if I couldn’t have have everything.
After a while I started to make zero progress with my health and fitness.
I stopped being “the ripped guy” with massive success in a short amount of time, I became a slacker, a procrastinator, stuck in one place.
It was time for a change, I had to tighten up again and get back on track.
Realizing The Power of Small Daily Wins
In the past I was always too fast to underestimate the effect of doing a little imperfect things consistently.
The vision of success I had in my mind was that you just know how to do things right and you execute.
So instead of aiming at consistency my aim was to do it perfect every time, and nothing less than perfect.
In the long run the error in my calculation was thinking that because the perfect day is great, anything less than that isn’t… — And that my friends, is a BIG fat lie.
In reality 1 push-up is better than 0 push-ups. 20 minutes in the gym is better than 0 minutes.
One healthy meal in a day is better than no healthy food for that day.
Even 1 raw vegetable a day is better than 0.
Aiming to make it right I failed to realize these 2 massive benefits of executing tiny and consistent:
This one is HUGE, momentum is what gets your through those days when you don’t have enough will power to get up in the morning to go to the gym.
Consequently momentum with managing your nutrition will help you stay on track when you’re hungry, or when you have big cravings during a diet.
After all Newton’s first law of motion says: “An object at rest tends to stay at rest, and an object in motion tends to stay in motion.”
The same principle applies to staying consistent with your goals, trust that the momentum will carry you through those hard time. – And it will not let you down!
The Compound Effect
Darren Hardy, author of the book The Compound Effect said it best: “You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”
Short daily workouts or meals seem to be insignificant alone, but when added up over time, they can have a dramatic positive impact on your life.
To put it another way doing 5 push-ups every day (takes less than 10 seconds) will compound to 1825 push-ups is in a year, and you WILL definitely feel a big difference from even this small amount.
One other cool example I like to remind myself frequently is: If I write 100 words a day is that’s an entire book in 1 year!
All Or Nothing Approach Creates Massive Amounts of Stress
When we assume an “All or nothing” way of thinking there is one thing we do consistently. – And that is, we generate a ton of stress to perform perfectly every day.
If you identify with this mindset you’ve probably realized same as I did that you get frustrated when things don’t go as perfect as you want them to be.
In other words we fall into the trap of perfectionism, and this is one of the biggest enemies of consistency.
Solving The Perfectionism Problem
One analogy that really helped me deal with perfectionism was to think of my life like a boat and think of my ideal day as a guiding star in the night, and NOT as a distant shore I could reach.
The star (perfectionism) can’t never be reached, it’s sole purpose is just to guide me to my goal.
As John Wooden, one of most famous basketball coaches of all time says: “Perfection is what you are striving for, but perfection is an impossibility. However, striving for perfection is not an impossibility. Do the best you can under the conditions that exist. That is what counts.”
To solve the perfectionism problem I was forced to accept reality for what it is. – NOTHING will ever be perfect, I can strive for it but full perfection can never be achieved.
In fact simply getting rid of perfectionism helped me execute those small less perfect daily habits and get out of the ‘All or Nothing’ thinking trap.
Conclusion – My results now?
Mastering consistency lead me to be in the best shape of my life, both physically and mentally.
In addition it helped me with my business, relationships and all other areas of life.
I’m no longer caught up in doing the best all the time, I simply show up consistently and strive to make it better every time.
As for my workout and diet, it’s become insanely easy to stick with it.
I know that if I just stick with my habits those “bad days” where I replace gym with a 15 minute home bodyweight workout will mean nothing over the long run.
The habit is what matters in the long run and not how well a single day went.
Over time the “All or Nothing” mindset still creeps up on me but now I know how to fight it, I understand what is happening and this is what keeps me moving forward to this day.
Hope you guys enjoy the article, let me know in the comments below what you think about the topic.
Have a good one,
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