How to be consistent without being stressed (its not what you think)

Written by Arno Jansen

Consistency is often hailed as the golden rule for content creators, founders, entrepreneurs, and anyone on the path to self-improvement. The message is clear: keep up a perfect streak, daily habit this, daily habit that, and success will be yours. And for good measure, a hockeystick graph is thrown into the mix, while mentioning the compounding effect.

And its true. Consistency is crucial for achieving long-term success. In a sense, consistency is the same as long-term focus.


If portrayed this way, it creates undue pressure and sometimes even fear.
It makes you feel that you’re back at square one, if you skip a workout, if you forgot to journal, or you broke the chain of perfection some other way.
I’ve seen people beat themselves up for missing a run, because they were sick. And the more you beat yourself up, the harder it is to get back into it.

The Myth of Perfect Streaks
You’ve probably heard it a thousand times: “Consistency is key.” The idea is that if you maintain a perfect streak of daily actions, you’ll achieve your goals.

Its great if you can keep up perfect streaks, never break the chain, but that is only realistically possible for 1 or 2 important things in your life. Not for everything you want to achieve or get better at.

For example: Live healthy is a “goal” of sorts, but not with a well-defined end-state. So, it is much more about your lifestyle and mindset, and that requires a long-term view. For that, you need sustainable consistency.

Sustainable Consistency
Sustainable consistency is not about never breaking the chain; it’s about your ability to recover and refocus when life throws you curveballs. Whether you’re journaling, posting on social media, or pursuing any other endeavor, you will face days that derail your plans.

Now, I’m not saying daily habits, perfect streaks and unbroken chains are nonsense. On the contrary, those are extremely effective tools to form new habits and creating meaninful results. But, not everything worth striving for, requires that level of perfection.

Some results do require a long-lasting streak of perfection; you won’t quit smoking, if you only quit 3 days a week.

But for most other results, perfect streaks are no guarantees for succes, nor is breaking the chain a guaranteed failure.

The Real Consistency Challenge
The valuable skill is not never falling off the horse but your ability to get back on it quickly when you do. Life is unpredictable, and your responsibilities can pull you in various directions every day. And of course a single setback doesn’t erase your progress or potential for success.

Even taking “two steps forward, one step back”, means you’re still moving 1 step into the right direction!

Embrace Imperfection
Instead of beating yourself up when you hit a snag, embrace imperfection as a part of your journey. Everybody has faces setbacks, misses days, and has moments of doubt. The key is not to dwell on these setbacks but to use them as opportunities to learn and grow. Don’t feed your negative narrative.

The Power of Resilience
Resilience is the foundation of sustainable consistency. Frank Sinatra said it well in his song “That’s Life”:

“You’re riding high in April, shot down in May, but I know I’m gonna change that tune when I’m back on top in June”

Resilience is about maintaining a positive attitude, especially when things don’t go as planned. It’s about finding the strength within yourself to persevere.

Overcoming Setbacks
The road to any success is hardly ever smooth. It’s filled with potholes, detours, and unexpected challenges. We all have days when we feel unmotivated; when the demands of the day pull you away from the plans you made, or days when we doubt ourselves. These setbacks are not failures; they are opportunities to test your commitment and determination.

Acknowledge Your Achievements
In your journey toward consistency, it’s important to acknowledge your achievements. Celebrate your successes: Sit back, take a deep breath in through your nose, and out through your mouth and relax as you breath out. Then remind yourself of your achievement, big of small. See what setbacks you’ve overcome, how different this thing looks and feels, compared to a week, a month, a year ago. Use that as fuel for the future. Recognize that obstacles are a natural part of the process. Setbacks do not define your worth or potential.

Learning from Setbacks
Every setback provides a valuable lesson. When you fall off the horse, take a moment to reflect on what went wrong and why. Was it something external, lack of motivation, or simply an off day? Understand that a moment of reflection on a setback can help you prevent something similar in the future.

Building a Support System
Consistency is way easier to maintain when you have a support system in place. Consider sharing your goals and challenges with friends, family, or a like-minded community. They can provide encouragement, accountability, and advice when you need it most.

Reigniting Your Passion
Sometimes, the reason for falling off the horse is a loss of passion or enthusiasm. Reconnect with your initial motivation. Zoom out a little bit and ask yourself why did you start this journey in the first place? What is your ultimate goal? Reigniting your passion can be a powerful driving force to help you get back on track.

The Importance of Flexibility
While consistency is essential, it’s also crucial to be flexible. Life is unpredictable, and rigid routines can lead to burnout or frustration when circumstances change. Allow yourself to adapt and change your approach as needed to maintain long-term consistency.

Wrapping up
Consistency is so important to create something meaningful in life. But, it’s essential to dispel the myth that it requires unbroken perfection. Sustainable consistency is about your ability to recover and refocus when you encounter setbacks. So, don’t be too hard on yourself when you fall off the horse, because you’ll only make it harder for yourself get back into it; instead, learn to get back on it faster, stronger, and more determined than ever. Embrace imperfection, cultivate resilience, and keep moving forward on your journey.

In the end, it’s not about how many times you fall; it’s about how many times you rise again. You only have to rise up one more time, to keep going.

I’m rooting for you! 🙌

Looking to get more productive, focused, and resilient?

Join my free Focus Finder email course to transform yourself from deeply distracted to fully focused.

    Looking to get more productive, focused, and resilient?

    Join my free Focus Finder course and go from deeply distracted to fully focused.

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