We already know about the power of consistency. Our habits are the most consistent thing about our lives; that is, by definition, how habits work, and they are very very strong.
It’s usually those habits that keep us stuck in our current situation and override any attempts we make to change it.
Why is that? Well, usually our conscious thoughts aren’t specific enough. To be consistent we need very specific goals and boundaries we can work towards. This is why goal visualisation at Live it Now, value alignment at Coach Now, and I’M SMART goals are so effective. Specific, measurable and tangible goals mean consistent action!
Our negative habits are not usually formed from conscious decisions or desired goals, they are typically formed from our unconscious patterns, designed to keep us safe, stable and protected. Keeping us safe and alive is a very specific goal with very specific boundaries, no wonder they are so tough to break. Using past experience and old emotion our subconscious develops a pathway for us to keep things exactly as they are, even if that place is not a very good one. This is why it gets tough when we desire new outcomes, want to bring about positive change or try something new and bring in consistent behaviour on a conscious level.
Keeping us safe and alive is a very specific goal with very specific boundaries, no wonder they are so tough to break. Using past experiences and old emotions, our unconscious mind develops a pathway for us to keep things exactly as they are, even if that place is not a very good one. We call this the path of least resistance. This is why it gets tough when we desire new outcomes, want to bring about positive change or try something new and bring in consistent behaviour on a conscious level.
Sure, we can set a goal and take action, but more often than not those actions fall away after a week or two, leaving us back to those negative patterns of behaviour.
How do we build the consistency in life we want, rather than the habits we don’t? This is a very powerful question that most people in the personal development field believe is key to bringing about positive long-term change: Creating consistency in your life through positive intentions.
“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.”
So let’s get smart and set to work building the consistency in our lives that will bring about the changes we desire, with longer lasting results than those ‘motivated idiot’ times we feel inspired, motivated or driven.
How to be consistent all depends on practice and patience, so I’ve provided these five smart ways to build consistency in life.
1. Feel Safe
It might make sense on a conscious level that changing to a healthy diet is the safest thing for your mind and body, however, if your unconscious mind feels threatened it will override your intentions, no matter how positive they are. Don’t look for a sudden turn-around. An overnight success might lead to
Don’t look for a sudden turn-around. An overnight success might lead to a lack of identity. “What, now you’re healthy? Who the hell are you?”
Create bite-sized pieces to get to your goal and celebrate every success so your unconscious mind sees the results and feels safe achieving them, gradually.
Your identity is the most important thing about you and your unconscious mind will fight to protect it. Before you make a critical change, build up to it mentally. Tell yourself positive things. For example, if you want to change to a healthy diet, spend time thinking about how you are a healthy person, how you like taking care of yourself, how you enjoy healthy foods and let your mind feel safe in the actions that you take. Do this before you set down to a plate of broccoli and you’ll both see and feel the difference. It might feel a little bizarre, sneaking up on your unconscious mind like this, but if your subconscious believes your thoughts are part of the natural environment it will take them on without fuss. So step slowly and treat your internal desire for protection with respect.
Redefine what SAFE is. Take your mind through the steps and really let it feel the outcomes of these current actions. Knowing that you are in an unsafe position, then offering safe alternatives can assist in your unconscious mind working with you, rather than against you.
2. Be Specific
Set specific goals and define boundaries around those goals to see long term consistent action.
Doing too much too soon is going to completely overwhelm your senses. Focus in on the one area you will see the best results from, and also ask, “What is most important to me, right now?” As you practice taking action in this one area, the whole wheel of life will be positively affected.
If you want a better lifestyle, you’ll need to narrow things down a little and trust that overall it will be working. Perhaps you can focus on; Finances or Relationships or Career, knowing that getting one area right will assist in your goal overall. Let’s go with the health example again. Improving your health will also improve your ability to make changes everywhere, without even realising it. So focus only on your eating and on your exercise and the boundaries you want to put in place to get these working for positive change. Keep going until these are natural habits before looking at other areas or increasing to the next level.
Perhaps you can focus on; Finances or Relationships or Career, knowing that getting one area right will assist in your goal overall. Let’s go with the health example again. Improving your health will also improve your ability to make changes everywhere, without even realising it. So focus only on your eating and on your exercise and the boundaries you want to put in place to get these working for positive change. Keep going until these are natural habits before looking at other areas or increasing to the next level.
Let’s go with the health example again. Improving your health will also improve your ability to make changes everywhere, without you even realising it, because it happens unconsciously! So focus only on your eating and on your exercise and the boundaries you want to put in place to get these working for positive change. Keep going until these are natural habits before looking at other areas or increasing to the next level.
Focus on this one thing, get it perfect, then move on, trusting it will be consistent enough in your life to maintain its own momentum. You should expect your new behaviour to become a habit in less than one month (15 – 35 days).
3. Focus On Positive Self Talk
It’s not enough to say, ‘Don’t do that,’ you need to have an equally (if not more) rewarding option on hand that your mind can easily get to, ‘Do this’.
If I say ‘don’t think of a pink elephant’ what’s the first thing you think of? A pink elephant! This is because the unconscious mind can’t process negatives. If you say to yourself ‘don’t eat the cake’, then guess what you’re going to do…
There will be certain times of day that practising consistency will be easy (first thing in the morning) and certain times of day or situations where it will be tough (ie, after a really long meeting at work, at your brother’s birthday party).
Find the best times for you and set up your willpower camp there. Practice and refine your positive actions at the time when your body and mind will be most responsive. That might mean going for a walk first thing in the morning, or going grocery shopping straight after you’ve eaten. Talking things through or making plans after meditation or putting things in motion straight after a coaching session are other powerful ways to build consistency in life too.
Have go-to positives you can use for those less than ideal times. Set them up and make your preparations in your strongest times so you have easy, positive solutions on hand when needed. ie, healthy snacks in your bag when you are driving home hungry and the drive through is calling, options to take a shower after a long day at work and refresh, have a good book beside your bed.
Get creative, you know your negative habits better than anyone so you’re also the best person to find a way around them. Just remember to do it from a strong place, because when your emotion is up, your unconscious mind will take the path of least resistance and potentially undo some of your good work. If that happens, take note of that pattern and find a way to break it for next time with a positive alternative on hand.
If you need help unlocking the negative pattern, remember to use my free guided meditation Belief Buster as a tool to get you through.
4. Walk the Talk
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Your actions need to back up your beliefs, your beliefs need to be part of your everyday thoughts and feelings. If there is a disconnect anywhere here there will be no follow through.
• Think positive things
• Say positive things
• Do positive things
Negative beliefs and negative words are responsible for negative outcomes!
By the same token, thinking positive and saying positive but not taking action will lead to thinking negative, then saying negative things to yourself. Follow through on your consistency from start to finish to create a positive and lasting cycle.
If you don’t have the tools you need or the knowledge you need to take action straight away, your first positive action step will be getting the knowledge, asking for help, or learning the skill.
5. Bust Through Negative Beliefs and Limiting Decisions
Sometimes you need to let go of the old before you can take onboard the new. If your habits are really keeping you stuck and you’re not making headway no matter what you do, chances are the link to the past is too strong to simply think your way around.
Listen to my Belief Buster and release yourself from those specific beliefs and decisions that are holding you back from your goal. For example, if you have enough ‘evidence’ stored in your unconscious mind that is telling you you’re not worthy, you are not intelligent or that you can’t be successful, you will be constantly fighting your unconscious mind to get to your goal. Busting through this belief and unhooking from those old emotions in past events will enable you to move forward consistently and effortlessly.
You won’t be perfectly consistent straight away, and that’s absolutely fine, remember, it’s not a short-term gain, so look for those long term results. As I say at Live it Now, polite persistence wears down resistance!
If you would like to let go of bad habits and learn more about the power of consistency, join us at our next Live it Now event and take back control of your life.
PO Box 590,
MANLY NSW 1655 AUSTRALIA
1800 552 168