Famed french painter Claude Monet is renowned for his vibrant paintings of colourful garden oasis’. However, before his paintbrush even touched the canvas, Monet was hard at work meticulously curating the finer details of his flower beds. Day after day he would sculpt the garden till it matched the vision of art he had stored in his mind. Monet’s consistent actions bloomed flowers and created an opportunity for him to create art. The paintings of his garden would eventually lead him to be one of the most well-renowned artists of all time.
Everyone knows that hard work brings improvement but it’s consistency in action that reaps rewards. Consistency favours the long game and cheers on those that are happy to slow down. It doesn’t matter what your discipline is, consistency is waiting for you to let it be your best friend. It’ll be the never-failing multi-tool in your toolbox, the one you can fall back on in any situation.
Here are some tips for making consistency your best-friend and why in the end, consistency will deliver favourite flowers right to your door.
Great things come in small packages:
Start small. We want to build perpetuity with your habits, and that comes from starting small. Save the grand gestures for Saturday night’s dance moves in the kitchen. We all have a spare 15-minute block somewhere within our day. This is the perfect amount of time needed to start planting the seeds of our future flowers. If you want to run a marathon, start by putting your running shoes on every day. Once your shoes are on, you’re more likely to go walk or run. Even if you don’t run for that day, you’ve already got a tick in today’s checkbox for putting your shoes on.
Maybe you want to learn how to do the splits? Start by sitting on your yoga mat for 15 minutes. If you want to get better at journaling, start by writing a title down which summarises each day. Writing pages and pages will not only make your wrist sore, but you’ll be less inclined to keep writing if you fall behind. Small daily efforts will infinitely be the most important actionable decision you make each day. Don’t take for granted what 15 minutes of intention can do for you.
Keep track of your progress:
Consistency builds habits that swiftly translates to progress. Find a place to physically mark off your daily work. This could be a checklist on the fridge, a cross mark on your calendar or upload to an app. It feels wonderful to see the days of work compile upon each other, plus the little hit of dopamine is a bonus too. Without this, it’s easy for one day to blend into another. It’s always fun to write down notes from time to time which corresponds to the task, activity or session from that day. You’ll be able to refer to these later about what went well and pick up cues from your previous self about what to do when things get tough.
Progress notes might look like:
“This morning I meditated before 8 am. There were fewer distractions.”
“I ran slower and my body thanked me for it.”
“Listening to a podcast whilst on the bike made the time fly by.”
Progress delivers results:
Imagine this, it’s week three and you’re nearly 20 days into building your new habit. Maybe it’s a skill, like playing the piano, or your third consistent week at the gym. This is now the time when the seed you planted on day one is starting to shoot. It hasn’t been long, but changes are already occurring. Embrace these, the adaptions are exciting and all-encompassing of the work you’ve been stockpiling.
It gets better, the days turn into weeks, weeks to months, and then all of a sudden you’ve collected a year of well-intentioned work. Congratulations, the first box of flowers just arrived at your doorstep. No-one can take that time or effort away from you. By this stage, the 15 minutes of effort on day one will be hard to remember because it’s now become an autonomous part of your day.
“What if it gets hard?"
Hard work isn’t defined in the moments when you’re feeling invincible and the world is working in your favour. It’s cherished and remembered in the times where you least wanted to show up.
If you’ve lost your way and need to bounce back, take a step back and reel it in. Go back to day one and remember the enjoyment of simply putting your running shoes on. Acknowledge the days before you and accept that your best effort will look different from day-to-day.
The by-product of consistency:
The compelling nature of consistency will change more aspects of your life than you initially intended. Self-improvement has shown to be strongly correlated with a positive mindset. As you level-up along your journey, the by-products of your work will show up in many facets of your life. These are the wildflowers that you never expected, which will act as reminders to show why the effort was worth it all along.
“As you move forward into the next month, remember, that your success won’t be measured by how hard or fast you went on any given day, rather, it will be measured by your ability to show up every single day.”
- Josh Lynott