Welcome to live free, creative, the podcast that provides inspiration and ideas for living a creative, adventurous, and intentional lifestyle. I’m your host Miranda Anderson, and I hope that each time you listen, you feel a little bit more free to live your life exactly the way you want to live it.
Hello there. Welcome back to the show. I’m so happy you’re here. This is episode 65: Everyday Consistency. I’m your host Miranda Anderson. This is the Live Free Creative podcast. Whether you are a longtime listener or a new convert or just dipping your toes in here at Live Free Creative. I am so happy that you’re here.
I know that you have so many things that you could be listening to, you could be doing, you could be thinking about, and so you’re giving a little bit of your precious time and attention to the messages that I share is deeply meaningful for me and I hope that in return you feel like you come away from these podcast episodes enriched, inspired, and motivated to live your life a little bit more aligned with your own personal values. Before I jump into today’s segment and show, I want to just give a shout out.
Shout Out To Patreon Members!
Thank you to some of our Patreon members. If you remember back in September, I launched a Patreon membership page for the Live Free Creative Podcast. We have a huge, wonderful group of Patreon members over there and so today I just want to say thank you to a few of our members. I’ll be doing this every couple episodes, so keep an ear out. If you’re a Patreon member for your name today, I want to say thank you to: Katie, Whitney, Brook, Sharese, Aubrey, Lindsay, Anna, Rima, Sarah, Hannah, Emily, and Bill.
Thank you so much for joining at the thank you level for the Patron membership! It means so much that you’re willing to invest in the show and I hope that you’re enjoying every week’s episodes because I’m creating them with your support.
Segment: Magical Adventure Moment
For today’s segment, I want to share a very seasonal, magical adventure moment.
A couple of years ago we were living in Texas and Dave’s brother and sister in law and their kids decided to come spend Thanksgiving with us.
Rather than doing a traditional big Thanksgiving meal in our dining room, we had the idea to pack up a Thanksgiving picnic. This looked like ordering some delicious smoked Turkey from one of our favorite local Texas barbecue joints, making a few sides at home, but really simply and then packing all the food and foil and to go containers, and putting it in a backpack.
We climbed to the very top of one of the largest mountains, if you can call anything in Texas mountains around called Enchanted Rock. It was a beautiful Texas fall day, sunshiny and brilliant out. We had six young kids between us and we had all of the food in one backpack and then drinks and a big giant mat in the other backpack.
It took about an hour with the kids scrambling and running all over to get up to the very top of Enchanted Rock and then we found a nice spot that was sort of nestled away from where everyone was hanging out at the lookout areas and laid out our spread. We put down our big mat. I think we brought a blanket or a tablecloth type of thing to put down over the mat and then we started laying down the food and at the same time we invited the kids to go find some fall inspired decor that we could use as our, you know, at our picnic.
And so the kids came back with sticks that had colorful leaves on them, as colorful as they get in Texas. That means they were probably yellowish or brown rather than green. We found some interesting berries from one of the bushes and some grasses and there probably even a couple of flowers. We laid out the food and tucked in all of these berries and things from around the hiking area and then sat down and enjoyed a Thanksgiving picnic on the top of a mountain.
There were a couple of reasons why this Thanksgiving was so magical. First, because it was different. Even though we kept with the tradition of having Turkey and potatoes and rolls and cranberry sauce, it is, it stands out in our memory because it was such an unique experience. Another reason it was really magical is because we played to the strengths of our families. We all had young kids, young kids who didn’t sit very well at a table who were not very interested in listening to people chat or dressing up for a fancy meal. They loved the ability to be outside, running around, still feeling grateful and probably even feeling more grateful because we were playing to their strengths.
And the final reason this was so incredible was because it was just a good reminder that we get to choose the way that we spend our time, and especially around the holidays. We get to choose what types of experiences we want to have and we don’t have to embrace every single piece of tradition that doesn’t necessarily serve us in the exact moment of our lives. So it was really an incredible time to be out in the fresh air, enjoying wonderful food, exploring with our kids, having a unique experience and being all filled up by the ability to create magic in our own lives.
Now let’s jump in to talking about consistency. Consistency has a lot of meanings. I think we most often, rightly so in our lifetimes, think of consistency as doing something the same way over time or doing something regularly. That’s exactly what I want to talk about, but I thought it was interesting as I got prepared for this episode to remind myself some of the other definitions of consistency.
Consistency also can mean the quality or texture of something. For example, glue has a thick kind of gooey consistency and water has a very lightweight liquid consistency. The other definition that came up was the idea of something being consistent throughout. So you know, Webster’s Dictionary talked about cookies being cut to a consistent size, shape and thickness in order to all cook the same way. And I, when I used to make clay jewelry thinking of how I would want to always roll it out so that the thickness was consistent throughout in order to be able to have a uniform ability to work with it.
Now it might seem like these other definitions of consistency don’t have a lot to do with the idea of consistency, meaning doing the same thing or doing something over and over and over again. But I think that they do enable us to consider that consistency in our own lives can have many different qualities and we get to choose how we feel about it.
We can have a thick drudgery, hard, difficult, thick as molasses, slow moving, consistency that kind of weighs us down. Or we can create systems that allow our consistency to be light and smooth and free flowing like water. The other definition also comes into play when we are able to consider that as we do things uniformly, as we react with some uniformity and as we create the ability for ourselves to rely on our own reactions, things actually become easier. We actually can create ease in our lives through consistency.
Minimal Meal Planning
I want to start by sharing an example that I’ve shared on the podcast before. In fact, there’s an entire episode about it called Minimal Meal Planning. It’s Episode 22 and I will link it in the show notes at livefreecreative.co/podcast if you want to go listen to it. You could also just scroll down to it after you’re finished with this episode and listen. Number 22.
What I talked about though is the idea of creating a consistent meal plan. Now most people think about meal planning as deciding ahead of time what they’re going to eat, and that is true, but one of the differences between my minimal meal plan and the idea of meal planning in general is that I stumbled upon the ease of having the same meal plan every single week. So not only being consistent about planning but deciding that for the next six months you’re going to eat the same meals over and over again.
This idea was born out of my own frustration and overwhelm of being a young mom of three little kids. I had a five year old, a three year old and a baby, a toddle. The idea of figuring out what to have for dinner when Dave was working late and I had all of these kids to manage and a lot going on in my life just seemed like this really daunting task. And so I kept trying to preplan all of these meals, but then I had a new shopping list every week and I wasn’t always even getting to the grocery store every single week because I was just had so many things going on and so I finally decided with the kids together, let’s figure out what we like to eat and that’s what we’re going to eat for a while.
I have a background in nutrition. I am a registered nurse. I worked for years as a Diabetes Educator with a background in nutrition and exercise therapy and so our meals were good meals. They were nutritious meals, they were also simple meals and they were also very easy to create meals.
We decided on seven meals that we all agreed on as a family would be great. I made sure that there was a protein and carbohydrate and lots of healthy vegetables and fruits in included, but we decided this was going to be our meal and for the first time in a few years I felt relief surrounding my meal planning and I was able to then be consistent because I had made a decision about what I wanted to do, established a system to support it and then I looked forward to it so I was able to be prepared.
We used that meal plan for over a year and in the episode you’ll hear there is some room for adjustments and for flexibility, but as a baseline, instead of my baseline being running to Chick-fil-A or to go grab tacos because I didn’t have time or hadn’t the energy to create meals, my baseline was a home cooked nutritious meal because I had all the ingredients on hand.
I didn’t have to decide whether or not I felt like making that or eating that I had already decided and I was prepared ahead of time. That is consistency. Now, whether or not that idea appeals to you, you can’t argue with the idea that deciding ahead and then repeating the process over and over and over again creates ease.
The ability to go to the store and know exactly what you’re getting ahead of time because it’s the same thing that you get every week. The idea that on a Tuesday or Wednesday or a Thursday, you can not know what day it is. Someone can just say, what’s for dinner tonight? And as soon as you know which day of the week it is, you know what you’re making because that is consistent.
Use Consistency To Create Ease
Now, this example of meal planning can be applied to any area of your life, something that you’re feeling overwhelmed in or that you’d like to move forward in. You’d like to create some momentum or some progress in one area of your life, but you don’t see that yet or you aren’t feeling it yet. This is where you can use some of the elements of consistency in order to create ease.
Five Reasons To Be Consistent
So I want to share five reasons why you would want to be more consistent. Why should we create everyday consistency? I’m going to share five reasons for that and then I want to follow up with the how five ways, how we can be more consistent in our lives.
Benjamin Disraeli says this quote that I love, he said, “The secret of success is consistency of purpose.” The secret of success is consistency of purpose. What a beautiful thought that if we want to achieve success, I believe that first that involves defining what what success looks like for us, but then having all of our efforts move us forward in that direction.
Consistency of purpose means that we know what matters to us and we are choosing that thing over and over again.
1. Ability To Measure Progress Over Time
The first reason why consistency matters in our everyday lives is because it creates the ability to measure our progress over time. It’s really hard to know how we’re supposed to feel about results in our lives if we don’t have a starting place or an ending place. If we are not paying attention to what our normal looks like or what right now looks like, how are we going to ever understand or recognize if we’ve improved or if we’ve gotten better?
Because consistency is deliberate. It allows us to create these sort of parameters. We will choose and given an allotted amount of time that we’re going to do something and then we’re able to actually track our progress surrounding that particular area in our lives. There’s a lot of different ways to track that progress.
I love to use a chart where I can actually like cross off days or I can set up in my planner. I use a paper planner, I’m obsessed with it. I actually think it matters so much to write things down, but I will write down exactly what I’m going to accomplish during each section. You know of these consistent things. For example, when I was writing my book earlier this year, I wanted to write every single day, but I didn’t just say I’m going to write every single day. I wrote down a little box next to everyday of the week and I wrote what I was going to work on.
So, instead of waking up and thinking, “Okay, I need to write today, but I don’t really know what I feel like writing.” I would have already decided the week before on Sunday I would write down all of these things and I would look at it and say, “Okay, Monday morning I’m going to work on chapter seven today.” I open up to chapter seven and dig in and I wrote for a half hour every single day until the book was done.
Without the deliberate practice and consistency in different aspects of our lives, it’s really hard to know whether or not we’re moving forward and sometimes we may not even be thinking about progress. We may just be living sort of blindly through our lives and just like hoping that something makes an impact somewhere. So one of the big why’s, the first big why of everyday consistency is that it creates an ability to measure our progress.
2 Builds Trust With Others And Ourselves
Keeping Promises With Others
The second reason why consistency matters is that it builds trust both with other people and with ourselves. Have you ever gone to your favorite restaurant and ordered your favorite dish and had it come out super weird, like really different and you’re like, this was a bad batch. Something about this is wrong. There was a restaurant in Austin that I love called Walton’s Fancy andSstaple. It’s actually owned by Sandra Bullock.
It’s this really cool deli. And the first time I had a roast beef sandwich there at Walton’s Fancy and Staple, I fell in love with the idea of roast beef sandwiches. I had never had one that I really liked and theirs was incredible. And so for the next year, every time I went to meet friends for lunch, I would order the Walton’s Fancy and Staple roast beef sandwich.
And then one day I showed up and I ordered it and I had even been telling these friends, I had some friends that were meeting me for lunch who had never been to this restaurant before and they all took my advice and ordered the roast beef sandwich and then we got it. And it must have been a new line cook or someone who was just starting and hadn’t gotten the memo about how to make it because it was not very good.
The meat was a little bit off. There was way more blue cheese than there normally had been. The rolls. I mean it was just like a little bit off and I was disappointed first of all and also a little bit embarrassed that I had told my friends like, this is the best thing. You’re going to love it so much. And then we all were looking at each other and I was like, it’s not normally like this. I promise.
The same consistency that had built up my trust and that had made me fall in love with coming back and back and back was what was broken. That trust was broken when the inconsistency happened. Now you may not have people ordering food from you or ordering products from you. You may just be a normal person not running a business or you know, just running a family or being a friend. But this same thing applies. That idea of building trust through consistency.
Do your friends know that you’re going to answer when they call or most of the time? Do they know that you are a soft place to land? Do your children know that when they come to you with something hard that’s going on at school, that you will have an open mind and open heart and that you’ll listen to them and that you’ll want to engage with what they’re seeing rather than being upset. If it’s something that you don’t want to hear, how much do people know they can rely on your reactions? If you do have a business, how much do your customers know that they can trust and rely on your products or your messaging?
Keeping Promises With Yourself
I love in Rachel Hollis’s book, Girl Wash Your Face. She has a whole chapter on the idea of keeping promises to yourself. When you are able to build consistency in your life, you are able to trust you more. You rely on yourself because you know that you’ll show up to do the things that you say that you’re going to do.
Even if you’re not meeting someone at the gym. Will you go any way for you? Will you have your own back and be your own partner. As you are consistent and showing up and doing the things that you want to do or that you say you want to do, you are able to build trust both with others and with yourself.
3. Creates Accountability
The third reason to be consistent in your everyday life is that it creates accountability. Now, this kind of goes hand in hand with number two of building trust. When there is an expectation, when you’ve made a decision, you create an expectation of action. Now, consistency means that you check back in, did I do the thing that I said I was going to do?
Is this something that I’m able to build into my lifestyle? If there is no expectation, then there’s no accountability, but as you create systems for consistency in your life, then you have accountability and an ability.
Accountability Adds Meaning
Again, this goes back to number one to to measure your progress. Why does accountability matter? Why does checking in matter? I think it’s because it creates meaning. When you give purpose to what you’re doing beyond the action itself, that’s the reason you want to check in.
It’s not did you yell at your kids or not? If the accountability goes back to the why, why do we want to use kind words? Why do I want to get up and go on a run every day? Why do I want to have healthy food in my refrigerator?
As I am able to check in with that, that deeper purpose, I’m reinforcing the idea that the things that I’m choosing in my life matter and that the more that I do the things that I want to do, that that is the further I’m getting in my progress.
I’m Working On This At Home
I have to admit, this is one area that I’m terrible with my kids and I’m doing better. I have tried over and over all different ways like A to Z of creating some sort of system for accountability in our family surrounding chores.
My kids are really great at helping when we ask them and especially now that we live in such a small house, it’s so wonderful because we can do like a 20 minute power cleanup and the entire house is clean when we’re done. I also want to have some sort of consistency surrounding the way that my kids are expected to fulfill their obligations at home. And so this year it’s actually gone pretty well.
So far we’ve created a system that I actually will talk about in a different episode because it’s kind of involved, but basically my kids have a set of cards that have tasks on them and they are able to then self monitor their progress in accomplishing the things that they need to accomplish each day.
Now where I’m falling a little bit short is that I’ve created this system and my kids for the most part are doing it, but I need to be more consistent with my accountability. Am I checking in with them? Am I praising them for the good that they’re doing when they are accomplishing the things that we’ve set out for, they’re being fairly consistent in getting their things done. Am I being consistent in making sure that they know that I noticed and that matters?
That accountability piece is really important in maintaining motivation and maintaining the excitement for my kids and so it’s something that I’m excited to continue working on.
4. Establishes Reputation
The fourth reason why everyday consistency matters is because it establishes your reputation. How do people formulate ideas about the type of person that you are? How do they know what to expect from you? The more consistently you’re able to show up in your life, the more people know who you are.
There’s a lot of talk in this day and age, especially for people who have businesses online surrounding the idea of personal branding. You know, what message are you sharing? Do your stories about who you are aligned with, who you want to be type of thing.
In Episode 34 I had Natalie Norton on the show. It was a fantastic episode and she and I had a conversation about the idea of aligning your actions with your values. This is what establishing reputation and consistency means to me. Are you showing up as the person that you really are and if you are in it’s a bad thing, then are you able to adjust and show up more fully as the person you want to be? Do the things that you do every day, showcase the person that you want to be? As we continue to move in the direction slowly, just slow, deliberate consistency in our actions enables us to then develop more fully into the best version of ourselves.
My Soda Story
I have an interesting story about this. I had an experience about a year ago where I was working with sponsors more regularly on my blog than I have been in the last year. And I did a sponsorship with a soda company through Walmart.
Now when I did the sponsorship, I felt great about it. My family and I love ginger ale. The post was all about going on a picnic and how to have like a fun outdoor family picnic, which is something that is super aligned with my values. And I shop at Walmart on occasion. And so it felt authentic to me. But when I shared it, it was so interesting to me. I had one person who left me a comment, it was a private comment through direct message and she said, “I was really surprised by your post because it didn’t seem like you were the type of person that would shop at Walmart and it didn’t seem like you’re the type of person that would take soda on a picnic with your family.”
Well, there’s a lot you could, you know, there’s a lot we could go into with the idea of sharing that type of feedback with people and that’s great. I mean I hope people feel like they can share whatever they think about the things that I’m doing and saying, and that’s part of what happens when you put yourself out online, right, is that you are then susceptible to whatever type of feedback people have for you.
But my first reaction in my head was, “Well, who do you think you are? You don’t, you don’t know me. You know you don’t know me.” But then I actually thought, “Well, you do know me because I have been living my life in part online since 2007. Dave and I got married in 2006 and before we even had children, before we ever had a house, before we finished school, we were sharing about our life online and so there are some people who know me really well.
They have watched me grow up and watched me raise a family and watched me move all over the country and this comment allowed me, no, I wasn’t concerned about what someone else thought about my decisions because I get to choose what I want to do. But what I was appreciative of was the reflection that it gave me to consider.
Do I want to be representing other brands and businesses or do I want to be representing myself? Because it can be tricky when you assume a sponsorship, then you’re taking on a lot of the ethos of the brands that you’re working with. And I realized that every time I worked with the company I needed to ensure that my values were in direct alignment with their values. And if they weren’t, then maybe I wasn’t being as consistent as I want to be.
Now I’m going to also say that one of the firm beliefs that I have is that we are multidimensional people and so if we are trying so hard to be one way and occasionally we are a different way, that’s okay, that’s human. We can eat pizza on Fridays and eat organic cauliflower on Tuesdays and that doesn’t mean we’re a hypocrite. We can shop at local small goods stores and support all of our local makers and we can also order things online at Amazon and that doesn’t mean that we’re not living fully aligned.
However, the more consistent we are with some deliberate choices, now we’re not going to be consistent about everything because a lot of their, there are things that happen in our lives that we don’t control. But if we are deliberate about our efforts, especially for over time, we can choose what are the areas that we want to be more consistent in and then really put forth some effort in those areas. That’s when we start to grow.
Pointing ourselves in a direction and then moving steadily in that direction that enables progress. And so I guess I just wanted to say that this is an example of how if we’re consistent or inconsistent, it can show up in the way that people think of us.
And now I don’t think that we should be overly concerned about what other people think of us. But going back to number two, as we build trust, as we are consistent, we’re able to build trust both with ourselves and with others and building trust with ourselves and, and understanding that we are standing on firm character and creating a reputation that reflects our inner being that matters.
5. Consistency Builds Momentum
Now number five, this why is my favorite one. Why should we build everyday consistency in our lives? Number five is because consistency builds momentum. It is so easy to be tempted to believe that if we do something a couple times that it should yield this huge result. We really, really want to have a quick fix or a silver bullet or an overnight shot to the top. And unfortunately that’s just not the way things work. And the sooner that we understand that, the better off we’ll feel.
However, if we want to make big progress in our lives and have big results, all of that happens with simple, small daily actions. Consistency builds the momentum that we hope to achieve.
When I started training for my first half marathon, I had a ten month old baby. So I was still trying to get back in shape and try to feel fit and strong after having a baby, I was not sleeping super well. And my friend in the apartment complex put out an email and she said, “I’m going to be at the doors at the apartment at 6:00 AM five days a week. Here’s my training schedule, be there or not, I’m going to be there.” So she created this plan and then she invited people to, to be part of it. I initially looked at it.
Now I was a person who thought, I’m not a runner and I don’t really like to run. And this is like not going to happen, but I craved fitness and I craved time alone. Well, not alone, but a time with friends without uh, without babies. And so I decided that if I was awake nursing before 6:00 AM, then I would go. But I thought, gosh, if Milo sleeps until six 30 or seven, there’s no way I’m waking up early. But most of the time he was waking up around five to eat and so I was already up.
The first couple weeks, the mileage was very low. I think the first run we did like one mile and it was a long, slow mile, but really fun to be up and out with friends. And then the next week or two we did like one and a half and then we did two and then we did two and a half. And about the time we got to three or three and a half miles, I was feeling more deliberate about my going to run with these girls.
Now the race, this was like May, maybe May or June. And the race was in the end of August. So it was a pretty long way off. It was a very long training schedule and I never planned on running the race because I thought there was no way that I could run thirteen miles. I can run two miles. But when they get to the higher mileage, that’s when I’m going to bow out. That’s what I thought.
As soon as they get to the miles that I can’t do, that’s when I’m going to stop. And so I did these runs and I usually made it to about three or four runs per week and noticed that as we inched up the mileage, you know, a half a half mile extra each week, I could keep up. We were all learning together and we got to four miles and I, I, it was hard, it was hard.
But then the next week when we ran four miles, it felt a little bit easier. And then the next week when we ran four and a half miles, it was okay. And then we went back down to three and then we went up to four and then we went to five and, and it was okay.
And we kind of, you know, followed this training schedule slowly, slowly, slowly inching ourselves upward. Now I remember the day that we ran ten miles, I had seen it on the schedule. It was like, you know, weeks and weeks off. And as we went through the schedule, I was getting there, I was doing it and I was a little bit shocked and I got to the day and it was like, okay, here we go. We’re going to do it. And at least at my sneakers and I ran ten miles. And I remember when the girl who had the running watch the Garmin on, um, you know, we came back to the place and she said, okay, there it is.
I think we had like a couple blocks back to where we had started when we actually hit 10 miles. I felt so overwhelmed by this idea that I had gone from not running at all to running ten miles in just a couple months. Like how could that have even been possible?
It was on that day that I decided I actually did want to run the race. I wanted to run this half marathon with my friends. And so I called the race coordinator because it had all sold out. All of the bibs were gone and it was a race through a state park where they had to actually have permits for the number of runners. And so I sent an email, they didn’t call him, I don’t think there was a number on the site, but I sent an email to the race coordinator and I said, “I didn’t know that I could run and I have now spent three months training with my friends and I can do it. And I, you know, I just had to be, I had a little bit of a sob story.”
I, you know, I just had a baby and I also had just had a miscarriage and I really, really wanted to do, I felt so invested in it and I felt like running was building my confidence in a way that I didn’t even know it could be. And so the race coordinator was really kind and he got back to me and he said, “Thank you so much. I love hearing that this has made a difference for you and here’s your bib number.” So he gave me a spot. Now, over the next couple of weeks, we finished out the training plan and I went from ten miles to running ten and a half to running eleven to running eleven and a half to running twelve. We ran twelve miles.
That was our longest run before the race. And then the day of the race I laced up my shoes and I got out there and for the next couple hours I ran through this, these beautiful battlefields in the state park in Virginia and ran up the hills and down and grabbed the Gatorade and chatted with my friends.
And we took running selfies as we were just sweating along the race. And I remember getting close to the finish and just watching all of the people cheering us on and running around the stadium and in and crossing the finish line and thinking to myself that this had all started with one mile, that this had started with one mile repeated and then added two and then repeat it and then added to and repeated and added to this is what it felt like to have consistency, build momentum and that momentum build results.
It goes without saying that if I had not run that first mile or the second mile or the third mile, if I had given up at five miles saying running is boring or I’m not going to be able to do it, or I can do five but I can’t do any more, or my life’s getting kind of busy, I’m feeling kind of tired, it’s not really worth it. I would never have understood how powerful it is to be consistent and build momentum as you work towards your goals.
If we don’t achieve our goals, it’s simply because we’ve given up too soon. We can’t always control the outcomes and I think that that is really important to remember, but we can control our output. I have written down in my notes here, we need to be consistent with our efforts, not expect consistent results. Our efforts are what we can deliberately choose and create.
Whether or not those things are received or achieve. The potential that we hope that they do in a lot of cases is out of our hands. But if we don’t get started creating that effort, then we will never have a chance at the results that we hope for. It’s off the table if we aren’t being consistent with our output. Okay. Now I’m excited to jump into the how, because I think that most of us would agree that consistency is important and we understand what it is and why it matters, but we don’t quite know how to get ourselves there.
We want to be consistent and we just aren’t. So let me do my best to share a few examples of how we can be consistent and maybe like a little bit of a step by step as we get into this. However, I need you to understand with certainty that your consistency depends on you whether or not you do what you want to do or do what you think you want to do or do what you say you want to do that’s on you, that’s on you actually doing the work and you making those decisions.
We all love to come up with myriad excuses for why we can’t or why we won’t or why we don’t do the things that we want to do. And I believe to my core, and I hold myself accountable in this way as well, that it is up to us to create the life that we want.
We cannot control all of our circumstances, but we can always control our output. We can control our effort and we can control how we react to the many things that surround us. We can create place in our lives for the things that we want to exist in our lives. And as we do that we are able to gain momentum even with this idea that it’s empowering and it’s wonderful to know how much control you really do have over the things that you create.
Five Ways To Be More Consistent
1. Make A Decision
The first step in how is to make choices about what you want to be doing. It’s really going to be tough to be consistent with actions that you haven’t yet defined. You need to know and choose what direction you want to be facing in order to take the steps forward.
Episode 44 of this podcast is called become a great decision maker and if you are thinking to yourself, “Well what if I don’t know what I want to do? What if I don’t know which direction to go?” I want you to go listen to that episode because you’ll find that it matters a lot less what and matters a great deal that you make a decision and that you stick with it for awhile. That’s number one, make a choice.
2. Establish A System To Support Your Choice
Number two, for the how is to then establish a system to support that choice. If you are a podcast plus member on Patreon, then you got bonus episode number one last month, which was Creating a Mindful Morning Routine.
My Morning Routine
Now I want to take an aspect of that episode and share it here. When I set out to create a mindful morning routine, I first of all took reality into account and then I also layered my habits. So these are two ways that you can establish systems to support the decisions that you make.
One example that I have is that I really wanted to write in my journal every day. It was something that I did my whole life growing up until I got married basically. And then I didn’t really have a place in my life for it anymore. The normal time that I spent writing in my journal as a single person was time that I now wanted to interact with my husband. And so it was kind of threw me off a little bit. And so taking reality into account means that I had to understand what is my actual morning look like right now.
What are the obstacles that I have to writing in my journal? And what time am I waking up, for example, how much time do I have? How do I feel about things in the morning? And then I needed to layer habits.
So what was something I was already doing in the morning when I got up that I could build on. Now, this is kind of a silly thing, but one of the things that I was already doing in the morning was reaching for my phone to scroll social media or check my, my email. That’s a terrible habit. That’s not a habit that I wanted, but I decided that I was going to use that for my advantage to also do a morning meditation. So now I wake up to my alarm, turn off the alarm on my phone and grabbed my phone. But instead of going right to Instagram or email, I go to the Headspace app and I do a ten minute meditation.
I do this while I’m still in bed. So it’s kind of a transition time to a weakness. And I really love the guided meditations on Headspace. So this has been a really successful habit stack for me. And then now that I finished my meditation and I’m awake and I’m feeling good, the desire to scroll through Instagram has subsided because now I’m more centered and now I’m feeling deliberate about my choices.
So I put my phone down and I go over and sit in my window seat and I write in my journal for about ten minutes. I’ve been writing in my own journal, I’ve been writing in my kids promptly journals and I’ve been writing in this mood journal that I got last year that I hadn’t really filled out yet and I’m, I’m loving it. So I created space using the reality of what my morning already looked like and then stacking habits on top of it in order to be consistent with them.
I feel like this podcast is going to be just like a little archive of all the other podcasts, but I have an entire show on creating successful systems. So Episode 25 this is about creating systems. So number two, how to be consistent is to build a system around the choice that you make. And episode 25 can help you a little bit more in depth with that idea.
3. Put A Timeline On Your Actions, Not Your Achievements
Now, number three, put a timeline on your actions, not on your achievements. What I mean by this is that you choose when you want to do the things you want to do, not when you achieve the results that you hope that that will bring in your life. An example of this for me in my life recently has been that I was feeling like I was getting a little bit off track with my eating habits and also my pants were feeling a little bit tighter than usual.
Tracking My Intake
I shared in the spring that I’ve had a little bit of a journey with some postpartum trauma in the form of diastasis recti, and when I went to the physical therapist to discuss this and to start working on it, they recommended that I stop all physical activity except for the exercises that they were giving me.
I have been a consistent runner ever since that first half marathon and I stopped running for a couple months during the summer so that I could focus more deliberately on this specific muscle group that I was trying to improve. Well you can imagine what happens when you are eating the way you normally eat and then you abruptly stop exercising regularly. I wanted to start back with eating a little bit more healthy and being a little bit more clear about what I was eating. So my intention, my choice was that I was going to track what I eat in order to be intentional about it.
I noticed that it’s a lot easier for me to choose wisely when I know that I’m going to be recording what I choose. I pay more attention to it because I’m going to write it down. So I wasn’t doing any specific diet plan or anything like that. I generally love eating healthy and that sort of my my default when I’m intentional about it. But I also like anyone else will eat whatever’s in front of me if it’s there and I’m not thinking about it.
So my goal and intention was to record the things that I eat for the next two months. Now I didn’t say I want to lose ten pounds in the next two months or anything to that effect. I only want it to be consistent or monitor my consistency with my own actions knowing that of course there’s byproduct, of course results happen when you consistently make these small changes in your life every single day, but I didn’t want to give myself a result oriented goal.
I wanted to have an action oriented goal and I think that this is where a lot of times we get mad. We mess ourselves up because if I had said I want to lose ten pounds in two months and then I hadn’t lost ten pounds in two months, I would have thought that my effort had gone on founded that it was not worth it and so I may have stopped.
But when my effort, my decision is simply “I’m going to record what I eat every day.” Then there’s no end to the timeline of this and the results will come as they may, so whatever it is that you’re facing in your life, use this number three of the how with consistency. Put a timeline on your actions, not on your achievements. You’ll find that you’re a lot happier when you’re able to celebrate the things that you actually have control over, like the actions and efforts that you put forth.
This Podcast Is An Example Of Consistency!
I have to tell you an example of consistency that I am really proud of. I have released a podcast episode every single Thursday morning since the show began last September. I don’t know if I’ve ever been this consistent with any one particular project for my work in my entire life and I want to tell you the reason why I think I’ve been consistent with this podcast: I would record it and share it even if no one was listening.
I love what I’m putting forth so much that the result or how it’s received matters so much less to me than what I’m actually creating and how I’m putting it out there. If you’re having a lot of trouble mustering up the energy or the motivation to do the things that you think you want to do, consider whether or not you actually want to do them. Do you want to do those things because of the result that you hope that they have or do you want to do them because they bring you joy because they build you up because they’re part of a healthy lifestyle because they’re building character.
The more we can attach to the idea of the importance of what we do and detach from the importance of how it is received or what resulted in it achieves, the better off we’re going to be.
4. Build A Runway
Now, number four is build a runway. This probably should have been number three. I probably should have flip flop those, but here we are. Build a runway means to not only think about the exact thing that you want to accomplish, but what are all of the other things that need to happen in advance of you accomplishing that thing?
An example is that if you want to eat healthier breakfasts, you need to buy healthier food. If you go to the grocery store and you fill up your cart with, you know, chocolate chip Eggo waffles and sugar filled yogurt and boxed cereal and cinnamon rolls because they look really good. And you know, again, this has nothing to do with like actual diet plans and this has more to do with building your runway for success.
Your eating habits start at the grocery store with what you actually buy or at the farmer’s market. Your exercise habits begin with going to bed on time or signing up for that gym membership or making sure that you have a class to attend, arranging childcare, whether that’s at the gym or you’re going to do a home program or that you have your spouse taking care of the kids while you’re doing, while you’re going out to exercise.
Plan For Consistency
Consider in your planning for consistency, what are the things that need to happen in order to get you to that, the effort that you want to put forth. I mentioned in the episode already when I was writing my book, I made the goal that I was going to write every single day until the book was finished, but what did I have to do in order to make that happen?
I needed to make sure that I had a time scheduled and set apart. I needed to have my laptop charged. I needed to have planned ahead what I was going to write about because in the moment I didn’t really ever feel like it necessarily, but as soon as I had an idea, a jumping off point, even just as simple as work on chapter seven or edit the introduction or whatever it might be, those were things that I wrote down ahead of time so that when the time came I was able to just jump in and do it. Just start writing.
So think about the runway to the action that you want to take. Think about what other things need to happen in order for you to move forward with being consistent. Do you want to floss your teeth every single day? What do you need in order to make that happen? You probably need floss, you probably need some sort of time frame to do it in. You probably need to understand the why and maybe spend a little bit of time in reflection and pondering why this matters and why you want to do it in the first place.
5. Do The Work
Okay. The last one, number five, how to be consistent. This one matters the most you guys, you have to do the actual work.
The way to be consistent is to do the thing that you say you’re going to do or that you want to do. Again, because I’ve been so consistent with my podcast, I have another show to refer you back to that illustrates this point. Episode 50 is called Motion versus Action.
So often we get stuck in motion. We want to record a podcast, and so we spend an hour looking up internet articles about how to record a podcast, what equipment we need, what we should write, the shows about, how to manage it, how to market it, who is the market. Then we go down the rabbit hole of, you know, what’s the best way to run Facebook ads and how do we make sure that we’re reaching the right people and how’s the best way to grow? And then ten hacks for growing your podcast quickly.
And what you actually need to do in order to start a podcast is to sit down and record breakout the mic. Turn on your computer and sit down and actually start talking.
You want to be consistent with going to the gym, so go to the gym and work out. You want to be consistent with eating healthy. You have to put healthy food into your mouth. You can’t just buy it, you can’t just meal plan it. You can’t just cook it. You actually have to eat it. It’s in the ingestion that you’re able to be doing the work of the consistency that you hope for every single day matters.
The things that we do every day are what we spend our life on. The way that we spend our time and our energy and our efforts in the simple daily actions are the things that build momentum and that layer on top of each other in order to be what we look back on and realized that’s what we did with our lives.
It’s easy these days for people to be incredibly consistent about hopping on Instagram and scrolling through. I mean when was the last time that you did not get on Instagram and if you didn’t, was it because you were being deliberate about not? I think most of us right now are, our default is to use social media on a daily basis. What are you not doing that you want to do and instead spending that time on social media?
So many of us have our favorite Netflix shows and this isn’t necessarily all to just say that you know, digital, the digital world is bad, but I want to say when was the last time you missed your favorite show and what are all the other things that you want to be doing that you say that you don’t have time for, you think you don’t have time for? We have the same amount of time. A lot of us have energy that we can spend either on moving ourselves forward in the direction of our dreams or wasting on things that we can’t control.
I know that it can be frustrating to not be making the type of progress that we want to make. We have to remember though that the process is the progress. Every single step, every single day, every single time that you sit down and are consistent with something that you’ve decided is important to you, you are succeeding. That is the point.
I love this quote from Stephen Covey. He said, “Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender. It’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.”
Be patient with your goals. Be patient with yourself. Allow yourself the freedom to invest every single day or every single week in the small things that mean so much to you because those are the things that are going to form the fabric and the memories of the way that you’ve lived your life. Decide what you want to be consistent with. Create a system to support it. Be deliberate and intentional. Build a runway and do the actual work. I hope that this episode has been helpful and given you some new insights into why consistency matters and how you can build it into your current life.
Thank you so much for tuning in. I would love to hear your feedback and your thoughts. You can share those as a review on iTunes or in the show notes, comments on my blog.
Also, if you haven’t grabbed a copy of More Than Enough, the book that I released in July, it is available on Amazon and it is the perfect time to read it if you haven’t yet. Right now, as we’re heading into the holiday season, in the season that demand so much from us emotionally and financially and in every other way. My book will help you feel grounded and help you understand how to be deliberate about the things that you want to include in your life this season and always. And finally, if you’re not yet a Patreon member, come over and hang out with us. It’s been so fun. The podcast plus members get a bonus episode with a worksheet every single month.
And we’ve just started our digital book club. We’ve had our first meeting, and it was amazing, and I can’t wait to have more. We met on zoom, so everyone was able to participate and we met in real time and just were able to have a great discussion for the book that we shared. So I hope that if you want to be part of that community and learn to live in even more deliberate and intentional life, that you hop over to patron.com/livefreecreative and join us there. Have a wonderful week. I’ll talk to you next time. Bye.