If you want to be more consistent, raise the stakes.
Take for instance, working out. If you set a goal to start working out in the mornings before work, you’re going to be challenged with that sweet-sounding snooze button. You’re excited when you go to bed thinking “I’m working out tomorrow!” And then morning comes, and the idea of hitting snooze so you can sleep longer has a strong pull to it. You justify it to yourself, maybe even arguing that you’ll workout after work (which you don’t).
No one knows if you miss your goal this morning to workout. It’s “not a big deal.”
Until your one missed day turns into two… into five…into a month. That’s a bigger deal.
But what if we changed one thing about that morning workout goal and added the fact that you were going to meet a friend at the gym.
When that alarm goes off, you might consider hitting it but will remember that you have a friend who was willing to get out of bed before the sun came up to workout with you. You turn off the alarm, get out of bed, get ready and head to the gym to meet your friend.
The alarm sounded the same. The excuses your mind made were the same. The only difference between morning A and morning B was the fact that someone you like was counting on you to be there. You made your goal because you didn’t want to let that person down.
It’s easier to have consistency when there are immediate stakes to your decision.
That is the power of accountability.
You can even take this example to a new level by offering to pay your friend $100 every time you miss an agreed-upon morning workout. You most likely won’t miss more than one. Why?
Because you don’t want to pay your friend $100 that you’d rather spend on something else.
Stakes increased. Likelihood of showing up to workout increased.
Too many of us are trying to reach our goals or build new habits all by ourselves. In reality, we need someone(s) there to help us – an accountability partner. This person can be a mentor, a friend willing to meet us at the gym, or even a hired coach who checks in on our progress every week. We all need someone to essentially hold our feet to the fire in order to meet our agreed upon standard – and we all need consequences when we fail to live up to that standard.
If you want to be more consistent in your morning workouts, meet someone at the gym at 6am.
If you want to be more consistent reading books, have a small book club with 2-3 friends.
If you want to be more consistent building your career skills, have a mentor or friend who will practice sales pitches or presentations with you.
Consistency requires accountability. The more we have of it in the form of a relationship or consequences (like paying a “fine”), the more likely we are to build our consistency.
The better your accountability, the better your consistency.