Guest Writer: Ginger Harrington
Reaching goals doesn't happen without effort. Moving from intention to action is the first step, but our daily choices help or hinder us from forward progress. Building consistent habits that support our goals is a powerful way to press on toward growth and success.
“It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It's what we do consistently.” ― Anthony Robbins
Have you realized you aren’t where you want to be in some area of life? Maybe you even set a few goals or made resolutions this year and your progress has been sporadic.
We all have goals, aspirations, and dreams. Even the most unmotivated people have things they want to accomplish in life. Most of us–the imperfect types–have a list of areas ripe for growth and improvement. In essence, we don’t want to stay where we are…like we are.
Physical health, spiritual development, and personal growth are areas we often target for improvement.
When it comes to reaching goals or building better habits of health, what holds you back? Motivation, time, knowledge, skill, finances, equipment, or even current level of health can be obstacles to moving from intention to action.
The Challenge of Consistency in Reaching Goals
We may start strong but staying consistent is challenging. Last year I had a goal to lose weight. I worked at it (most of the time) and was sort of successful in a frustrating way. What's that, you ask?
I lost the SAME five pounds at least five times. Maybe more.
I stopped counting. At times I stopped trying. Let's face it, lack of progress is seriously demotivating. I had conversations in my head that went like this:
Inconsistency kept me running in place rather than moving forward toward my goal. The Yo-Yo Cycle of inconsistency can keep us from making lasting changes. Consistency is a battle, and the struggle is real. Can you relate?
Move from Motivation to Habit to Reach Your Goals
Jim Ryun said this about the role of habits in accomplishing goals: “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
A vital part of accomplishing goals is establishing small habits and routines that help us succeed. The word habit is defined as “a usual way of behaving: something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way.” ( source: https://www.britannica.com/dictionary/habit)
Practice bridges the gap between intention and habit. The positive habits we build form a support structure for the life we desire. Small changes and helpful habits can become part of our daily steps as we pursue our goals.
Athletes and musicians practice new skills until they become intuitive, part of their muscle memory. In many ways, practicing helpful habits is like developing muscle memory. What once felt unfamiliar, requiring great concentration, begins to flow automatically.
Focus on Progress Over Perfection
I’m discovering I tend to sabotage my good effort when I fall short or default to old habits. Failures and setbacks prompt a cycle of shame and guilt in my self-talk. How often do we allow today’s lapse to defeat our next step?
Elevating perfection over progress can derail consistency in creating new habits and accomplishing goals.
What could it feel like to change your perspective and expectations? What if you let go of perfectionism, recognize progress, and celebrate growth? Shift your focus to the next right step and make the next good choice. This mindset shift fuels motivation to keep moving toward our aspirations.
7 Ways to Move Forward with Consistency
The more we choose well, the more consistent good habits become. This makes it sound easy, but changing our thoughts and patterns is hard work that takes time and consistent effort.
Consider how these words from Philippians provide a pattern for pursuing your goals:
“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”. –Philippians 3:12-14 NASB
Although this passage refers to spiritual growth and sanctification, we can discover some practical habits of consistency.
Don't let inconsistency or discouragement tempt you to abandon your healthy goals. Celebrate the small wins of your forward progress. In Genesis 1, God "saw" that each day's work of creation was good. The meaning of the word "saw" is to see, to look at, inspect, perceive, consider. God recognized and stated the value of the good work that was accomplished. How often do we do this?
One healthy habit that is OH-SO-GOOD for your soul is to value small victories. Notice what went well this week. We often discount the small positive steps we make, but success creates energy for more success. Honor the good effort of each step forward as you build consistent habits to reach your goals.
What encourages you to press on today? Fight for consistency but give yourself grace as you pursue the positive habits for a life well-lived. What next step do you need to take toward your goal today?
What's Most Important?Read Now
Written By: Tanya Glanzman
Why is it that that word immediately causes a reflexive “ugh” to rise within me? It seems to have the same impact as words like discipline, self-control...trust.
Because instantly, I’m reminded of all the of the places I am currently not consistent. I’ll spare you the long list, but if I were a bettin’ woman, I’d bet we had some similarities if we compared lists.
And it’s not like they are new things, or even hard things. In fact, they are the same things I’ve been working on for years…and years. And that can cause me to feel frustrated with myself.
So quickly I can find myself stuck in the mental loop of self-abasement. What in the heck is wrong with you? Why can’t you get your act together? What is your issue with this one thing that keeps you from being consistent in this one area?
The thing is, it’s never just one area or one thing that I struggle with. I’m actually usually pretty good at doing one thing consistently, consistently. In fact, I’m wired in a way that when I get my mind focused on one thing, I work at it 150%. It tends to consume my time, my energy, my ability. All that I am can get so consumed with that one thing and usually, in this way, I can be pretty successful in that one thing. For a time.
This issue, however, is that in the pouring out of all my time and energy into that one thing, all of the other things, the really important things of life, tend to fall to the sidelines.
For years I searched for that just right eating plan to help me be the me I wanted to be. I would invest hours of my time researching and learning. I would think about it, talk about it and post about it. I joined groups and found friends on the same journey. I’m an “all in” kind of girl and each time I started ALL IN. Most of my time and focus would be placed upon the current, at the time, plan.
And then slowly…a little at a time, I would run out of steam. I could only maintain that level of intensity for so long before I fizzled out. And before I knew it, I just wasn’t doing it anymore. It was too hard, too much to juggle with all the other pieces of life that demanded pieces of me. The other things of life began to crowd their way back onto the field.
I ran a marathon, once. At 35 I decided that if I didn’t do it then, I never would. I wanted that 26.2 sticker for the back of my car so bad I could taste it.
I trained. Hard. In the cold, in the heat, hour after hour of my feet hitting the pavement with an irritatingly (especially at 4am) cheerful accountability partner 11 years my junior.
For a season, this goal held all my focus. I thought about running, talked about running, ran and then ate chocolate ice cream because, after all, I ran, I deserved it. And just a side note, my eating well consistency and my running consistency didn’t coincide in the same season.
I’m glad I ran that marathon 10 years ago. I’m not sure where the sticker that was so important to me at that time went, but I have the medal and the photo (somewhere…I’m sure of it.) I haven’t really run since. And please, if I ever tell you I’m thinking about training for another marathon just mention mile 22 and port-o-potties and you will have loved me well.
Here’s what I’ve learned. Balance is key. Consistency in BALANCE. Learning to balance all of these beautiful people and responsibilities and all that contains life in my world. Learning to be consistent in allowing Him, the very one who blessed me with this body, this mind and all I have the privilege and responsibility to love and love well to lead me in my daily priorities.
Consistency in yielding every single part of myself to Him, daily, to lead me in the way that I should go. To make my priority list for me. To gently nudge, to quietly whisper and to help me have the self-control I need to place His priorities as my own.
I’ve learned that He cares so much less about all of the things that I tend to make so important. The goals and dreams that I have elevated within my own heart and given so much of myself to. He has revealed to me in this season that at His very core what He cares about most are people.
Loving with His love and being Jesus with skin on to those around me. At home, at work, at the grocery store, in traffic.
As I continuously endeavor to find balance in all things, my personal prayer is that I will consistently rest in His love for me and will consistently yield to that love in a way that allows me to consistently demonstrate His love to others.
There is no goal, dream or desire more worthy of all of me. Consistently.
Let’s pray together,
Father, ABBA. Thank you for your unwavering, never ending, faithful and enduring love for me. Help me to balance well all of these beautiful parts of this life that you have given me in a way that bring glory and honor to you. Help me Father to hold your heart and to see others and myself the way that you do. Help me to consistently love like you love and to place the priority of people and their hearts above any and all priorities that my own human heart would try to elevate above. Help me Father to always let my ONE THING, my most important thing, to never fail to simply be sitting at your feet.
Strong SuitRead Now
Written by: Angie Reese
When it comes to consistency, I am NOT your gal. I struggle with being consistent in most areas in my life. Dieting - nope. Exercise - nope. Even reading my Bible - it’s a struggle. I am so bad at this that when I shared that I was writing about consistency, a few people in my life actually laughed. Don’t worry, it didn’t hurt my feelings.
But I have an excellent example of consistency in my life. My husband is a rock star at this. If he finds it important enough to put it on his habit tracker, it gets done. I am amazed at his ability to do this. He reads his Bible daily, does a devotional, exercises, and practices a foreign language. Every. Day. For like, over 1,000 days in a row on some of that! It’s quite amazing.
So on one hand you have me - I don’t string more than a few days of consistency together. And on the other hand you have my husband - who doesn’t miss a day. There is a saying that goes “it takes all kinds” and I guess that is true in this case. My wise little sister even said “God calls people to be the message when they’re “not right for the job” all the time.” And she is right. So here I am.
Consistency is not one of those subjects that is talked about much when it comes to the Bible outside of us reading it for growth and intimacy with God. Both of those things are very important. But the thing that jumped straight into my head was the verse in Hebrews 13:8 that states,
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (NIV)
This verse brings me peace in such a deep place. In this world that is ever-changing, Jesus is the same. Right now the price of groceries isn’t the same from one week to the next (hello eggs!), but HE is the same. Gas prices shift from hour to hour it seems, but HE is the same. I put off reading my Bible, but HE is the same. Just waiting for me. Just waiting for me to come and sit by His side and commune with Him. And He isn’t doing so with his arms crossed and a scowl on his face because it has been a few days since I cracked open my Bible. Rather, he is waiting patiently and calling to me like a Father that wants to see their child. Arms open and expectant.
So, when your diet fails - AGAIN - or you forget to get that snack for your child’s classroom, your workout gets put on the backburner, or you haven’t read your Bible in a few days, take a deep breath, remember that Jesus offers a clean slate policy and doesn’t keep a record of wrong, and make time for Him. Oh, and get those other things done too. Alarms help I hear.
Let me pray for us.
Jesus, thanks for being the loving friend that you are. Thank you for forgiving me when I mess up. Help me and my fellow sisters to be more consistent with everything, but especially spending time with you. Thank you for being constant and never changing. Your dependability is a rock in our lives. We love you.
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