Success has several laws that when practiced improve considerably its probability to manifest. One of those laws, and probably the hardest to enforce, is the law of consistency.
Consistency requires you to practice and work towards a goal over a period of time. The length of time is a function of the grandeur of the objective. In my opinion, this law is totally contradictory to human nature and behavior. That’s why it’s so hard to be consistent!
We are impulsive by nature; we are constantly distracted by new things and want new rewards.
I believe that there’s an evolutionary reason why it’s so hard for us to be consistent. Not so long ago we lived in an animalistic state, fighting for food, looking for secure places to sleep and, in general, living without thinking too much ahead.
As we evolved, we developed willpower which taught us to postpone satisfaction and plan for the long term. Working consistently is a function of willpower whereby willpower as is a relatively new function in our skill set.
It’s so new that if you use it too much (willpower), you get tired. According to the Ego depletion hypothesis by Roy Baumeister, restraint or willpower, draws its strength from a finite source that operates much like a muscle, the more you flex it, the more fatigued it gets. But, just like a muscle, it can recover and develop.
Here’ how to develop your willpower, ultimately making it easier for you to be consistent.
Put in the low burner
Make a rule for engaging new potential rewards: place them on the low burner. Sometimes when we cook, it’s better to slow fry or boil what we’re cooking because too much heat kills the dish. The same goes for reward impulsiveness, you need to take your time before you make a decision to pursue a new reward. Sleep on it, think about it and postpone as much as you can. Its sounds counter-intuitive but by delaying new potential rewards, you are ensuring you get the most of the current reward you’re working towards, e.g., stating consistent!
Go grab a bite!
Some researchers claim that willpower is actually glucose. The more you have, the more willpower you’ll have, and ultimately the most consistency you can achieve.
Power of Suggestion
There’s research that claims that your ability to complete tasks is entirely what you make of it, e.g., it’s mental. If you think it’s hard, it will be hard; if you think you can do it, you’ll get it done. This theory posits that consistency is entirely suggestive in its base!
“People who think that willpower is limited are on the lookout for signs of fatigue. When they detect fatigue, they slack off. People who get the message that willpower is not so limited may feel tired, but for them this is no sign to give up — it’s a sign to dig deeper and find more resources.” (Source).
Be social to be more consistent
Avoid social exclusion at all costs! Social exclusion impairs your willpower and promotes self-destructive behaviors, why? Because you’re outside of the “social circle”; those outside are reduced to the animalistic self-preserving state of a lonely wolf, acting more on instinct. You’ll search for immediate prizes, constantly hopping from one prize to another, like our ancestors.
Social structure keeps our behavior in check, giving us motivation and tools to fuel our willpower and propel us to the heights we wish to conquer.
That’s why people with many friends tends to be more successful, social acceptance gives your success a much needed willpower boost to continue.
Until next time!