Consistency is a goal many students strive towards, but struggle to reach. What exactly is consistency, why is it important, and how do you practice it? Well, I’m here to answer these questions.
Consistency is your ability to stick with something regularly, working every day (sometimes on the same things) to achieve something. It helps you build habits and be productive, while also improving certain skills and eventually getting closer to your goal.
But how exactly do you build and maintain consistency? That’s where this post comes in. If you’re ready to learn the 7 steps that will help you stay consistent, let’s get straight into it.
Set a goal
Setting a goal is an essential step to take before you try to build a habit or pursue something. It will keep you motivated and accountable, as well as help you create the best short-term progress tasks.
A good goal should meet the SMART criteria. Here’s what it looks like:
- S: Specific
Your goal must be specific, answering the 5 W’s of who is involved, what is achieved, where it will occur, why it is significant, and when it will be completed by.
- M: Measurable
There must be a quantitative measure in your goal, whether it’s the amount of time you will take or the amount of stuff you will get done.
- A: Achievable
Your goal must be realistic and achievable for yourself. You must consider your own abilities (though they can and should develop in the process of completing the project) and other constraints like time and resources.
- R: Relevant
Make sure that your goal is actually significant, is occurring at the right time, and will benefit either yourself or someone else.
- T: Time-bound
Lastly, set a deadline for your goal. This will set the entire planning process to action, keeping you accountable and focused on your goal.
Build habits (the right way)
As crazy as it sounds, there is a right way to build habits effectively. You can do more than just force yourself to do something every single day until the new habit sticks.
One habit-building hack I emphasize in the Complete Habit-Building Workbook (made by yours truly) is stacking habits.
There are many things you already go through unconsciously during the day, such as brushing your teeth in the morning and getting into bed at night. To make things easier for yourself, you can “stack” new habits onto these established habits.
For example, tell yourself that every day after you brush your teeth, you will read a chapter in a certain book. This is habit-stacking!
If you’d like to learn more about how to build habits that stick, check out my Workbook below! I’ve outlined an 8-step process to help you build habits the right way, as well as multiple habit trackers and list templates.
No matter what kind of habit you’re building and what goal you’re pursuing, there will be obstacles on your journey. Some of these you simply have to overcome (and you will!), while there are others you can prevent and avoid.
Two of the most important things you can control are your mindset and your environment– specifically, distractions around you.
First and foremost, you must build a positive mindset and believe in your internal locus of control; this means that you believe you (and not other forces or beings) cause the changes in your life.
An easy way to maintain a strong and positive mindset is to repeat affirmations whenever you’re questioning yourself. Affirmations are simply short, uplifting statements that help you overcome negative thoughts, like these:
- I control and create my life.
- My ability to overcome challenges is limitless.
- I am powerful and will achieve my goal.
- Obstacles are moving out of my way.
Next, you must create an ideal environment for pursuing your goal. You should remove all the items that may become distractions and add items that will help you.
For example, if you find yourself going on your phone while you mean to be studying, leave your phone in another room. Or if you are trying to start reading before bed, keep your book on your nightstand and within reach of your bed.
YOU’LL LOVE THIS POST: The Ultimate Guide To Studying From Home
Track your progress
Make sure to use a habit tracker (it can be in any form, digital or physical) to track your progress! This will give you an idea of how well you can stay consistent and help you stay accountable.
New studies have shown that it takes an average of 66 days to form a habit, so aim to track your progress for about 2 months. And remember that it’s okay to miss a day, but you should always keep going. More on that later!
If you’re looking for a simple and intuitive habit tracker, check out my Complete Habit-Building Workbook, which includes 2 habit trackers as well as 2 30/60 day challenges!
Implement a system
There are 2 types of systems to implement in order to ensure consistency: one for doing and one for done. Let me explain:
Your doing system should be how you ensure maximum productivity and efficiency before and while you are performing your habit/task. This means the planning and the execution!
For example, if you’re trying to start studying everyday for 2 hours straight instead of in 15 minute intervals, create a planning system where you schedule time blocks during the day!
Or if you’re trying to start working out for 30 minutes every other day, not only plan out the days you are going to exercise but also list out the exercises you are going to do. Sameness helps to maintain consistency!
The other system is the done system, which is essential in how you’re going to reinforce your habit. There are 2 ways to do this: through a reward system and through a punishment system.
In a reward system, you’ll give yourself positive reinforcement after a set interval or amount of things you’ve successfully accomplished (you can decide how often and how much, but be reasonable).
In a punishment system, you’ll give yourself a negative penalty whenever you fail to accomplish whatever goal you had set before. However, this should not discourage you completely, but simply motivate you to do better.
You can create a combination of the two types of systems, or choose 1, or even switch it up. Create or choose your own system that benefits you, and you’ll be good to go!
Ask others for help
It is perfectly okay to ask others for help whenever you need it (or even if you don’t!). The people around you– like your friends and family– can be incredibly helpful in helping you stay consistent.
For example, you can ask a friend to remind you to do or not do something whenever you’re in her presence. This would work for regular habits like drinking enough water.
You could also ask others to help implement your reward/punishment system. Or, you could simply ask someone to keep an eye on you and keep you on the right track.
Last but not least, do not give up.
Sometimes, you’ll miss a day in your consistency, and that’s perfectly okay! However, try not to miss the next day as well, because skipping 2 days will eventually lead to more, and you don’t want that to become a habit!
Remember your goal and why you’re doing this, then look back at your habit trackers and see how far you’ve come! Then give yourself a pat on the back and keep going.
I hope this post was helpful in helping you build and maintain consistency! If you’re interested in my Complete Habit-Building Workbook, do check it out!
And if you’re looking for more posts like this, here are some of my latest:
- 10 Brilliant Habits To Organize Your Entire Life
- 23 Easy Habits That Will Skyrocket Your Productivity
- 5 Mindset Shifts To Become A Successful Student