Consistency and Change

More time with my horses is important

2022 is a summer full of changes, some anticipated, some surprising. As I work to keep my balance and to establish a new healthier balance going forward, I found this particularly thought provoking, especially the last sentence. From the Farnam Street newsletter feature, Tiny Thought.

Tiny Thought

The longer the time frame for results, the less you need intensity and the more you need consistency.

Consistency isn’t simply willpower, which comes and goes. Consistency is doing it when you don’t feel like doing it.

If you want advantageous divergence, you have to do the things that matter on your best day and your worst day.

Not such a tiny thought if you really give this some thought. This is absolutely applicable to life in general, no matter what the focus. And I think an important message for trainers — and for our clients who often get discouraged when trying to make changes in their relationships with their animals.

In mulling this over, I realize that in some ways I am deeply consistent, with only occasional lapses of carelessness or inconsistency. But because I am usually so consistent, it gets on my radar when I fail to be as consistent as I intend to be. Which leads me to question myself, “Why did I do that [or not do that that]?” Finding the answer helps me reset my course, be alert for future moments so that I can choose differently, and forgive myself for being human.

But right now, I’m trying — and mostly failing so far — to establish new habits that will be important for me going forward trying to balance work and life. It’s so easy to get enthusiastic and intense about the changes I wish to make, and so hard to be consistent about doing the new things *no matter what* every day. So this Tiny Thought came at a great time to help me remember that consistency is doing it when you don’t feel like doing it.

Making changes sounds easy, but in reality, we all move through a series of stages:

  • Pre-contemplation (Not yet acknowledging that there is a problem behavior that needs to be changed)
  • Contemplation (Acknowledging that there is a problem but not yet ready, sure of wanting, or lacks confidence to make a change)
  • Preparation/Determination (Getting ready to change)
  • Action/Willpower (Changing behavior)
  • Maintenance (Maintaining the behavior change)

Right now, I’m in the Preparation stage, with a bit of Action already in progress.

So this reminder about consistency needs to be put on the refrigerator and bathroom mirror so I can gently remind myself it’s a journey, not a step off a cliff, and that at times I may get lost. But aiming for consistency on my best days and my worst days will get me where I want to be.

How about you? Where or when or how do you struggle with being consistent?

Learn more about stages of change here: