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7 WAYS TO BUILD CONSISTENT HABITS TO REACH YOUR GOALS

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:

  • "Well, you already blew it today."

  • "You'll never make progress."

  • "I just can't do this."

We call that the yo-yo cycle.  Start-stop-start-progress-blow it-stop-start-stop-start. . . Up or down, success or setback, good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. . .  Do you recognize this problem?


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.

  1. Have a realistic view of yourself—someone who is in process. You are on your way, but not there yet.

  2. Value progress rather than perfection. Many small steps in the right direction will take us where we want to go.

  3. Cultivate a “this one thing I do” mentality. Stay focused on your goal. Effort is required. Be willing to do the work.

  4. Live in this moment. Past failure is past—it’s no longer relevant. James Sherman wrote, “You can’t go back and make a new start, but you can start right now and make a brand-new ending.”

  5. Stay on the course. Don’t get sidetracked or even road-blocked by things that should be left behind. Shed negative self-talk, comparison, all-or-nothing thinking, or unrealistic expectations that discourage and distract you.

  6. Don’t run backwards. Focus on forward motion toward your goal. Have you ever tried to run forward while looking backwards? It doesn’t work.

  7. Keep going. Remember why your goal is important and refuse to give up. Staying in the race is the only way to reach the finish line.

Celebrate Your Progress Toward Your Goal


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?


Ginger Harrington

Discover healthy habits to cultivate a deeper relationship with God, others, and yourself with Selah finalist Ginger Harrington. Author of Holy in the Moment: Simple Ways to Love God and Enjoy Your Life, Ginger is the wife of a retired Marine and mom to three young adults. Helping women live fully with faith and freedom, Ginger offers a variety of free resources on her website.Sign up for The Wellness Project, a free email series created to help you build healthy habits for body, soul, and spirit.

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