I am a creature of habit. I love a good morning routine. I love planning out my week in my Google calendar, and I love to plan and prepare all my meals on Sunday for the week. When others hear about my habits, they often say, “Oh, I could never do that. I enjoy ____ too much.” Or, “I could never do the same thing day after day.”
Yes, and I get it. Variety is the spice of life. Of course it’s fun to try new restaurants, and explore new hobbies and interests, and expand your mind. But if you want to get results, consistency is key.
Most of the things we do, we do for 1 of 2 reasons: 1) leisure or 2) specific results we want to achieve. For example, if we’re going on vacation (leisure), it wouldn’t be very fun if we traveled to the same city/country every time, would it? Or if we planned out each and every day to the hour, which restaurant we’re going to, which venues we’re exploring, or which sites we’re seeing. You have to leave room for spontaneity, for serendipity. You leave room to explore, meet new people, and embrace new experiences. If you’re spending time with friends or loved ones (also leisure), you wouldn’t want to choose the same restaurant or meeting place every time, or order the same dish either. Having different experiences is what makes life interesting, memorable, and enjoyable.
On the other hand, there are some things that we do with a specific goal in mind. Perhaps you want to train for a marathon. Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds. Or maybe you want to finally start that business you’ve been thinking about for years, but could never find time to work on. These might not sound like a lot of fun. Well, I dare to say they’re not supposed to be. If you need to run 26.2 miles in under 3 hours with 3 months of training, you don’t just run when you “feel like it.” You come up with a training schedule and then you try your best to stick to it, week after week, month after month. You grind it out! Success is not an accident. Having structure and predictability helps you stick with your plan and decreases decision fatigue. You don’t have to decide what to do everyday; you simply follow whatever’s on the schedule for the day.
Or if you want to lose weight, you come up with a fitness plan. How can you steadily decrease your calorie intake and/or increase your calorie output? What obstacles might get in the way, and how can you prevent them? Success is not just rainbows and butterflies. There will be challenges along the way, and the sooner you discover them and resolve them, the smoother the journey.
The last ingredient in the recipe for success is the “why.” Why are you reaching for this goal? Why is it important to you? What does it mean if you achieve it? What does it mean if you don’t? I’ve found that having a clearly defined “why” serves as a strong foundation. The “why” is always where I return to, when people are being difficult, or injuries are flaring up, or life isn’t going according to plan. The “why” is your north star that helps bring you back on track when it’s far easier to give up.
The next time you’re up to something, think about what you want to get out of it. Is it for leisure? If so, knock yourself out. Go wild with trying new experiences (or not)! The world is your oyster.
However, if you want to achieve a specific goal, the best way to go about it is to come up with a plan and be consistent with sticking to it. Consistent baby steps are extremely effective, and over the course of several months or a year, you may be surprised at how far you go.
What goals are you working towards? Do you enjoy spontaneity and are always looking to change things up? Or do you prefer a steady and stable routine? Let me know in the comments below.