It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently. ― Anthony Robbins
One of the hardest things I have to do on this planet is to be consistent. I talk to a lot of my millennial friends, and one of the main things that keeps on coming up is that they have a hard time sticking to something. It doesn’t matter if that something is big or small – it might be a small habit like brushing their teeth before they go to bed, or something big, like sticking with learning how to play an instrument.
I have had this same issue over and over again. I have started something, gotten really excited about it, and then given up on it, the minute it got hard. I thought that I was being cool, that I was trying a lot of new stuff out, that I was being the Jack-of-all-trades. But I wasn’t really! I was just being lazy and inconsistent.
I am inconsistent
Several different people told me I am unreliable. I had tried and spoken about so many different things in that particular year that I only had time to chat about some. I tried others for only a few weeks (if that). Some of the things I looked at were the following: an import/export business from Antigua, Guatemala; opening up a yoga studio in Toronto; investing into income properties in Toronto. As you can see, there was a lot of diversity in the items I looked at, perused, researched, and then discarded.
Why did I go through so many items? Why did I think going through so many different items was better than sticking to one or two main items?
I believe I had forgotten about the power of Father Time. I tried something for a little bit and didn’t get good at it, or didn’t get anything out of it, or wasn’t successful right away. I got discouraged quickly, and then went on to try something new.
I think I was thinking that it would be like the first time I tried writing, reading, or painting, or yoga. I felt like I tried those things, and was good at them and loved them right away. There was no trial period. I’m sure I am being blind, and it wasn’t truly that easy. But for me, I want anything new that I try to be as easy as apple pie (not that I am any good at baking, I tried that, and it didn’t work out).
I have only been consistent with two or three things in my life till now, and that has been travel, yoga, and writing. I have been working on these three things for the past few years of my life, and I haven’t given up on them even when things got really hard. Why is that? Why have I stuck with these few items when I have given up on others? Because I think I have a natural knack for these items – I think I am born to be good at them.
So every time I have a set-back with them, I don’t think of it as anything major. I don’t let it faze me. It’s just a minor glitch. It didn’t really matter. Why would it? I am a natural at these three items – they are in my blood stream, they are who I am.
I Used To Give Up Easily
But with anything else I try, the minute there is a glitch, I realize that I am not natural at it, and think maybe I would be better off trying the next item on my list. Like surfing. I tried it once. I thought everyone who does Yoga doe surfing. So naturally, I must be good at it. It was a complete disaster as expected. I hit my head on the board, and was able to stand on the board for only a second or two at a time. Before I fell right into the water again.
How did I take it? I didn’t try again.
Looking back, that was something I have been doing consistently throughout my life in so many different things. Aikido. Violin. Real-estate investing.
(I worked on Oil painting, Badminton, Tennis, and Running for a long time. But then grew out of).
What am I trying to say here? It is a disease that is slowly pervading all of millennial friends as well. They complain about this inconsistency disease to me all the time. They try a billion things, but as soon as they hit the first glitch, they stop, and move on to the next thing. Except those one or two things that sticks with them forever. Matt has taken cycling with him everywhere he travels to. Liz takes her reading, art, and writing everywhere she goes. Shruti takes her writing, travel, loving nature, and friendliness everywhere she goes.
It doesn’t matter – these are just a few examples.
You could look at it either way.
Maybe we are meant to try a million things in this attention-deprived society, but stick with two or three. If we stick with those two or three, we know that these are the items that we should find some way of making money off of? Or should we stop with the madness, and make a resolution to stick with two or three things to the exclusion of everything else?
You could argue both ways.
For me, this 2015 year of the Sheep, has been all about consistency. Sticking with three items from January to December. Not letting go even when I get bored. Or there are distractions. Not even if I want to try something new.
The three things I stuck with, were Options Trading, Level 2 yoga, and my blog.
That’s all. Those are the three.
When I take something else on, and it threatens to interfere with these three, I finish up that item as quickly as possible, and let go of it. Thus, freeing up my time and energy.
Shiny Objects Distract Us
Believe me, I have had distractions.
I have wanted to take cooking lessons at George Brown College as a friend of mine is taking it. He has recommended it over and over again to a foodie like me.
I have wanted to start doing weights as a friend of mine does weights in her workout and she looks really good for it. I have wanted to start work on a non-fiction novel, as I notice several people in my group who are working on writing their next best-seller.
But I promised myself that this year will be about these three items, and I am not giving up on them, until December 31, 2015. Why am I doing this?
- I am hoping that these three items become part of genetic code because of consistency that I can’t live without them. Without them, I feel empty. These three items cover all the three important parts of my life; creativity, finance, and health.
2. I am also hoping that they are going to become habits for me after 12 months of consistent work that I will be able to get up every day and do them automatically, without even thinking about it.
What will happen after a year?
I am hoping that I will keep on doing these three things as a matter of course. I want to add something else on next year, like cooking lessons, but we shall see how that works out. For now, I am really pleased with the progress on these three items.
Because these three items are all that I have for this whole year, when setbacks come as they always do, I don’t give up. I ask around. I ask questions. I have mentors in all three aspects that I look up to. I learn about these three items weekly to get better at what I do in them. I can’t give up on them.
In my mind, it is an impossibility. They are part of who I am now. I would feel weird if I did stop doing one of them.
Now that I think of it, I can’t even imagine living without one of them for a long period of time. If I went with yoga, options trading, or my blog, for longer than a week, I would seriously be giving up a big piece of what makes up me. That’s how imprinted these habits are in me now.
I recommend that you try this with a few habits of your own. Maybe pick one or two, that you really want to imprint on your genetic code. Try them for a year. Habits get imprinted in 66 days. But these aren’t habits that we trying to encode. We are building a new part of ourselves.
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