Maintaining Consistency... what does it really mean and how can you use it for achieving massive success in 2019?
Over the Xmas and New Year period the topic of “Consistency” with regard to remaining consistent to a program and towards goals, has been something that’s come up with a number of my clients, so it seemed like an apt subject to kick-off the first blog article of 2019 and the new website.
Professionals across numerous industries including fitness, business and self-development of almost any kind, will often argue that consistency is the number one trait that will ultimately lead to one’s success, if properly maintained. The idea behind this is that, in many cases, even when the various other elements of one’s success strategy are lacking, in the face of less-than-optimal performance in those other areas, simply maintaining consistency of effort can often be enough in itself to secure the end goal(s). And this is certainly true in fitness, as I’ve witnessed many times, athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike don’t have to have the most intelligent fitness program, the perfect diet, or be required to elicit the use of powerful mindset tools to get good, or even sometimes great results (eventually) from a training program.
"“Consistently” refining and adapting the methodology is what will lead to “consistently” positive returns."
In many cases, so long as the fundamental principles of training and nutrition are met (such as adequate macro-nutrients, the “overload” training-principle and some level of self-belief etc) a relatively poor strategy can eventually yield the desired results over time by remaining consistent, week after week, year after year. That is the power of the consistency work-ethos. So now imagine that power compounded by getting all those other factors right – an expertly programmed fitness regime, properly calculated dietary adaptations and a solid mindset-management strategy utilising proven-powerful tools for success – get all those in place and add some consistent effort on top and that’s the super-charged health and fitness package that most people are dreaming of!
The other key point to remember when we talk about consistency is that it is a two-fold concept. It isn’t enough to simply decide the methods for achieving success and repeatedly perform those same methods over and over, mindlessly hoping for consistently good results time and again. In some cases, this may actually work, but in most cases the methods we use need to evolve and develop in line with the environment and circumstance that surround the individual and respective goals. “Consistently” refining and adapting the methodology is what will lead to “consistently” positive returns.
Below is a selection of quotes plus my own narrative that I sent to some of my clients last week in the hope of providing a good example of this two-part principle;
"Success isn't always about greatness. It's about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come." - Dwayne Johnson
Wise words from the former wrestler turned Hollywood actor, who's success we certainly can't argue with. For those who don't know, Johnson came from a middle-class family living in the US, focussing his efforts on playing college football. After being cut from the team, he switched focus to professional Wrestling, becoming one of the greatest wrestlers of all time and when he eventually stepped into an acting career, he broke the world record for highest-earning debut role ($5.5M). He's an incredible example of someone who has gradually and continually worked hard towards reaching various goals, becoming more and more successful with each step and showing consistent improvement over time.
"Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative." - Oscar Wilde.
So, here's a slightly different take on consistency by the eccentric poet and playwright Mr Wilde, which at first glance seems to dumb everything in the first paragraph. But what Wilde is really alluding to, is not that consistency itself is in any way bad practice, but that consistently doing the same thing certainly lacks creativity. In terms of personal development that lack of creativity translates into stagnation, never changing or moving forwards. Let's jump back to the previous story of Dwayne, if he'd consistently tried to re-make it in college football after being dropped, when the odds were clearly against him, who knows, he may have made a comeback but it's certainly unlikely that he would have achieved the same success that he has now. More likely his career as a player would have ended and taken him down another road regardless, but his willingness to re-align his goals and work in new ways to achieve them has led him to become the star he is today.
"Combine that consistency with an optimised fitness, mindset and nutritional strategy and that’s when really amazing things begin to happen!"
When we look at fitness programming, mindset strategies and dietary adaptations, we consider both of the key points from the examples above;
1) We calculate what you need to do to achieve your goals and then you remain as consistent as possible with that strategy.
2) We find out what works for you over time and remain consistent with those elements BUT we also consistently look at evolving and adapting the strategy by assessing which didn't work so well or did but aren't any more and what new inputs can be added to keep it innovative and optimal.
I believe that above all else in the development of health and fitness consistency is number one. I've witnessed proof time and time again that you don’t need the perfect diet or the perfect fitness program or even masses of self-belief and drive to get into good shape but that, if you're able to get it mostly right and do it consistently AND consistently make changes to improve, then results over time will come. You don’t have to eat clean every single day and you don't have to train your hardest every single workout, you just have to do it well and often. And it's not about the one day of the week, or the one week of the year that you didn't stay on track, it's about simply ensuring that you're still plugging away the rest of the time. Combine that consistency with an optimised fitness, mindset and nutritional strategy and that’s when really amazing things begin to happen!
I'll finish with my favourite consistency quote of all and you can make of it what you will:
"I'm brilliant at cooking my stepmother's scrambled egg recipe. The secret is to put eggs, butter, milk, and seasoning together in the saucepan, and to keep stirring with a wooden spoon under a low heat until the preferred consistency is reached." - Ian McKellen.