It’s the classic example of the tortoise and the hare. Consistency versus intensity. Which wins the race?
In the fable, consistency won. The legend can also be a theme in the race for personal growth and self-improvement. In my mind, there is a clear winner. Consistency, hands down.
Many of my clients come to coaching wanting to change everything, all at once and right now. That’s not a recipe for success. However, small, well-thought-out, measured steps implemented in focused areas of our lives will lead to long-term success.
Let’s look at exercise as an example. Consistency may mean walking a mile every day for a month. In contrast, intensity may mean running five miles on your first day out. Although walking a mile a day may not increase your fitness level as quickly as you’d like, running five miles on day one may do more harm than good. On the other hand, consistent exercise builds a habit, improves cardiovascular health, and strengthens muscles. Edith Cowan University researchers concluded that “maintaining a consistent, medium-effort routine, will show more results than an inconsistent, maximum-effort one.”
In contrast, high-intensity workouts can lead to injuries and setbacks. Consistency also helps to create a sense of accomplishment and motivation, making it more likely to stick to the routine. Small, consistent successes may create big wins.
The same principle applies to building other new habits, like health or self-care. Adding one new habit, such as drinking a glass of water every morning, is much more manageable and sustainable than completely changing your dietary routine. Starting with a small practice can build momentum; then, we can add more healthy habits over time.
How does consistency over intensity help us financially? Author Chris Hogan found five attributes in the millionaires he studied, and guess which came up first? Consistency! The millionaires Hogan studied knew building wealth was a long-term plan, not a quick shot.
Consistency has proven to be more important than intensity when achieving long-term success. The consistent effort builds momentum and establishes habits, making it easier to stick to your goals. Intensity can be helpful in the short term, but it’s generally unsustainable.
So, how can you incorporate consistency into your daily routine? Here are some tips:
- Set small, achievable goals: Start with small, attainable goals rather than aiming for massive changes overnight. For example, commit to a 10-minute walk daily to start exercising.
- Track your progress: Keeping track of your progress will help you stay motivated and see how far you’ve come. Use a journal or app to track your daily habits.
- Celebrate your wins: Celebrating your successes, no matter how small, will help keep you motivated and focused on your goals.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself: Remember that setbacks and failures are a natural part of the process. Don’t be too hard on yourself; focus on getting back on track.
Consistency is the key to long-term success, whether in personal growth, health, wealth, or many other endeavors. While intensity can be helpful in the short term, consistency is more sustainable and creates lasting change. By setting achievable goals, tracking your progress, and celebrating your wins, you can build momentum and achieve your goals one step at a time.
Cindy Jobs, PCAC, PCC
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