[Download video or download audio]

It’s easy to get lost in the details when we’re creating a habit, but looking at the big picture … what we really want over a longer period of time is consistency.

When we’re consistent with a habit, it starts to become a part of who we are, embedded in our lifestyle as much as anything else we do regularly. That doesn’t mean we never miss a day of doing the habit, but it does mean we’re fairly consistent over the course of weeks, even if there’s a break or two in that period.

So that’s what we want, but how do we get there? The problem is, there are some big challenges.

You might think the challenge is the disruptions that inevitably come, from things like travel and work and illness, but in reality, those are just bumps in the road. If we learn to take those in stride, they’re not that big a deal. We just pick up where we left off with the habit.

The real challenge is our expectations. When we face a disruption in the habit, instead of just starting again, we feel disappointment or guilt, because we weren’t perfect at it. We hope for, even expect, ourselves to be perfect with with the habit. And when we inevitably fail at it, we are so bothered by this failure to meet expectations that we avoid even thinking about the habit.

So our expectations are perhaps the biggest challenge. But there’s another that we’ve talked about before: starting. More specifically, the resistance and rationalizations we feel before starting.

We thinking about (or try to avoid thinking about) the discomfort of exercise, and so we start rationalizing why we shouldn’t start right now: “But I’m busy” or “But I don’t want to.”

So these are the challenges. How do we stay consistent despite the challenges?

Strategies for Staying Consistent

I’m going to share some strategies here … some are mental shifts, and others are more practical tactics:

Exercise for Today

Create a plan for when things go wrong. Discuss your plan and challenges in Slack.