Inconsistency is the single biggest obstacle you have to overcome when reaching for your goals. Another two are:
- Not starting
- Not finishing
How to overcome inconsistency?
You can do anything if you keep at it for years. Do you want to create a website that is the most important resource in its niche? Do you want to run a marathon below 3 hours? Do you want to be the best parent for your kid? Want to learn to play the guitar?
- One time in the gym doesn’t matter. Go 3x per week for a year.
- One blog post doesn’t matter. Write every day and publish a 2000-word post every week.
- One week of dieting doesn’t matter. Change the foods you eat… forever.
Just the other day I saw a post on Facebook where someone said that motivational stuff (speakers, books, exercises) are useless.
You will eventually lose motivation.
If you don’t pump iron, you lose your muscles. If you don’t practice the piano every day, you will not be a top performer. If you don’t continuously work on your motivation, you may lose that, too.
You get results when you keep at it.
Long-term goals take years
Everything you ever wanted to do is within your reach. However, this is a long reach. Most of the goals I listed above take years to accomplish. I have friends who say that snowboarding is not for them. They were on the board once!
Most people expect results right now. But if a goal that is 3, 5 or even 10 years out is something you can cope with, then you are halfway there.
Why do people quit their big goals?
Big goals are hard.
Big goals are the ones that make you change yourself (you can change more than you think). You need to do things you thought you could never do. You have to stretch yourself, exert willpower and endlessly repeat the difficult parts that frustrate and exhaust you.
If you don’t push the limits, then you will stall and plateau. As you stop seeing progress, then you will lose motivation. Lack of motivation will make you skip the things you need to do.
Take every setback and plateau as a sign that you have reached another level. Step up your game, motivate yourself with the idea that every step you advance will be a new all-time high for you.
For example, when I ran my first 100 kilometers, my previous record was 72.3k. After that, every step was a new record.
The better you get, the slower the progress. It may be hard to motivate yourself with the results far in the future. Instead, concentrate on the process. Do what you have to do as well as you can. And if nothing else, you will train your willpower that you can apply to any other task in your life.
Lack of time
Your goals take time!
You only have 24 hours every day. You have to understand that if you sleep for 8 hours and work your day job from 9 to 5, then you are left with 8 hours. You eat, you commute, and you may have friends, maybe a family. So, you are left with 2 to 3 hours where you can do your thing.
You know that you have to put in 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to get to the world-class level. Here’s the podcast with the author of the 10000-hour idea (Anders Ericsson: Dismantling the 10,000 Hour Rule).
If you put all your free time into your goal and skip one day every week, then you get approximately 900 hours of practice every year. As you can see, this means it’ll take 11 years to put in the hours needed.
Forget about the practice for a second. With 900 hours per year, you can create a business that brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars.
For example, I built and sold a website ranking at the top of its field in 996 hours spread over three years.
Think about it! It’s just 1 “workday” per week over three years.
Inconsistency is your main enemy.
I am not smart enough to do it the easy way so I have to grind relentlessly.
Doing ordinary things consistently will give you extraordinary results.
Time is your number one ally. It crushes your competition ~ Priit Kallas, FixWillpower.com
How to maximize time to beat inconsistency?
I think “do what you love” is stupid advice.
If you start something from scratch, then it’s hard, and you may even hate it at some point. I started running to keep my weight down after quitting smoking.
I always hated running. Running slowly became my most important form of exercise. Now I routinely run marathons and even completed some ultras.
Love the process and you power through anything. That will get the results you want.
However, to maximize your time, it helps if you can manage any of the following.
It’s your job, then you can put in 8 or more hours per day and reach the 10k hour mark in 3 to 5 years.
Some of your family members are into the same thing. For example, hiking, cooking, dancing, and other activities that you can do with your spouse or the whole family.
You can do it with your friends. At some point, I was unbelievably good at Doom 2 and Need for Speed. We played computer games for countless hours. E-sports wasn’t a big thing back then, but I cracked some records in Porsche Unleashed and was pretty much unbeatable in multiplayer Doom.
Of course, you can tie it all together. Have a family business that you love. A fantasy for most of us.
But even if you have to get by on the 1 to 3 hours per day, you can make it if you just won’t let go.
Inconsistency and lack of focus
Do one thing!
There aren’t many people who can stick to one thing for year after year after year without losing focus.
My biggest problem is that I find everything interesting. Then I dabble in this and that. Jumping from one goal to another. I may even get pretty good at one thing or other, but then I find something new and the practice that I put into the previous goal slowly fades away.
The focus is hugely important!
If you split your time between many activities then, sadly, you will not get to the top.
There will be times when the lack of progress demotivates you. And then there’s a new shiny hobby or a goal that tries to lure you from your path.
Just do not let go!
But maybe you should have other hobbies? All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
The key is that your hobbies are not something you want to excel at. Having no goals with your hobbies also means that you don’t have a schedule and can skip it whenever you feel like it.
The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller 4.7/5 point rating on Amazon. The ONE Thing has made over 400 appearances on national bestseller lists, including #1 Wall Street Journal, NewYork Times, and USA Today. It won 12 book awards.
You want less.
You want fewer distractions and less on your plate. The daily barrage of e-mails, texts, tweets, messages, and meetings distract you and stress you out. The simultaneous demands of work and family are taking a toll.
And what’s the cost?
Second-rate work, missed deadlines, smaller paychecks, fewer promotions, and lots of stress.
The important detractors are usually the people you neglect when trying to achieve your goal. Friends and family may feel left out. Certainly, you are using the time that you could spend with them on something else. Sometimes that something else is totally incomprehensible to them.
Then there are unimportant detractors. Internet comments, distant acquaintances, and other people who feel that they have something to say about what you do. They are easy to handle!
In the middle is the group of people knowledgeable about the field you are in. If those people discourage you, then take it in, analyze, and use the good parts. As the saying goes:
If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible, he is almost certainly right; but if he says that it is impossible, he is very probably wrong. ~ Arthur C. Clarke
Pick the pearls out of the cow dung and go your own way.
Finishing your projects
Finish what you are doing. One of the largest black holes in my productivity has been not finishing my work.
I write an article and keep polishing it. I do the work to launch a project and then abandon it to go after another shiny object.
We waste all the work that we do but do not deliver.
The discipline of finishing is the key to outstanding results.
Not finishing is also a sign of workaholism. Workaholism doesn’t always mean that they get the work done. Savoring workaholics may start a few projects and keep doing them for a long time or not completing them at all. Attention-deficit workaholics take on a lot of different projects but rarely finish them.
As Steve Jobs once said, “Real artists ship!”
Done is better than perfect.
Inconsistency will destroy the results you have achieved. Even better promise to someone else that you will deliver on a certain date, as this will be more effective than a self-imposed deadline.
How to fix inconsistency?
Remember there are three obstacles to your success:
- Not starting
- Not finishing
Just start doing it and commit to delivering it at a certain date.
You can start with 30-day challenges to work on your inconsistency. Twelve 30-Day Challenges for One Year but that is just a list of ideas you can try out.
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