How To Use The Power Of Consistency And Persistence, To Achieve Your Goals

Published on: August 11, 2014

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The Measure of Consistency

“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.” — Thomas Carlyle

Can you claim to be consistent and persistent in your life? [Cue silence]. Consistency and persistence are two elusive virtues, difficult to sustain if not regularly engaged. Let’s peer through the lens of what they offer. No doubt you’re well-versed in the merits of consistency within a practical approach. Attend any weekend course and the instructor will confirm the power of consistency as a key attribute toward accomplishment. We define consistency as developing discipline in a chosen field to support a favourable outcome. Those who uphold discipline are rewarded with success, since they can harness an enduring focus through concerted effort.

Let’s be clear: Success in this context is not limited to particular areas of life. If losing weight and eating healthy is your primary goal, taking proper action consistently is considered a success. Far too many people discount the power of consistent effort towards their goals. Consistency creates powerful neural networks in the brain, known as grooving. These grooved neural networks help form strong connections within the brain’s synaptic connections, thus enhancing your concentration on a task or goal. When you apply intermittent effort to a goal, the brain does not receive enough stimuli to form powerful habits. It is based on the Hebbian theory, introduced by the Canadian psychologist Donald O. Hebb, who said: “Nerves that fire together, wire together.”

Are you satisfied with these ideas so far? Can you see that consistency and concentration are powerful allies to help you achieve your goals? With consistent effort, your brain gains the right neural connections because of prolonged application. Focussing attention on your goals allows the brain to lock on to the target. Therefore, consistency is perceived as the ability to sustain continuous effort despite external forces. In other words, we must develop ceaseless determination to create our desired outcome. Expressed differently: consistency builds character and sharpens the mind. Consistent people are triumphant, with an unyielding inner drive. They are firm in their resolve to invoke positive results and do not compromise their goals by cutting corners. Their dedication pays off with the rewards that follow.

Here’s a final thought on consistency: it is essential in task-orientated goals, since it allows you to trace your results through to completion. For example, many people give up improving their nutritional and exercise goals as challenges arise. Pursuing success without sustained performance is likely to produce ineffectual outcomes. In several instances, your desired results may not be visible for any length of time when implementing nutritional and exercise goals. Often events are working in your favour behind the scenes and laying the foundations for future progress. Just because we cannot see our hard work taking shape, it doesn’t mean things are not benefiting you.

How To Harness Persistent Determination

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” — Maya Angelou

Let us turn our attention to the power of persistent effort now. Persistence is a developed state of mind, similar to grit. It is the hallmark of accomplishment since persistent people push through discomfort, seen in the setbacks and roadblocks that appear. Therefore, your ability to recover from failure and setbacks forms the basis for future success. Persistence acknowledges the external forces which act upon us. These forces can hinder our progress; however, the persistent person acknowledges these forces, yet endures them in the face of resistance. Think about this in your own life where you refused to give up on a goal, a plan, or dream.

This is why we must create a compelling WHY (intrinsic motivating force), since I believe it to be a crucial measure of improvement. Persistent people are endowed with an indomitable will to succeed, having connected with a persuasive WHY. For example, behavioural psychologists believe ‘showing up’ is a good enough measure towards future success. I believe ‘showing up’ is inadequate since people show up every day to mundane jobs they loathe. Whilst the body is present, their minds are looking forward to the end of the day. Showing up in this context means being present and engaged with absolute intention and purpose.

Similarly, another key influence is the power of momentum; a formidable ally toward goal attainment. Without momentum, you apply partial effort to your goals while expecting victory. Think back to your last project in which you applied persistence and momentum. How did the project turn out? Even if you didn’t succeed, you will have developed strong neural networks in the brain to persist the next time you tackle a goal. Expressed differently, momentum is the accelerator that drives persistence. As you maintain persistence, momentum takes the wheel to hasten progress. Artists will tell you that every creative pursuit takes a life of its own through a powerful commitment.

I wish to leave you with a final principle which ties together the power of consistency and persistence, known as the compound effect. Author Darren Hardy, who wrote the book The Compound Effect, outlines ways in which we leverage success through building on consistency and persistence. According to the author: “The compound effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices. The most challenging aspect of the compound effect is that we have to keep working away for a while, consistently and efficiently, before we can begin to see the payoff.” Therefore, the power of consistency and persistence are two fundamental forces that generate powerful and lasting success in areas of your life. Use them wisely.

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