Consistency

I’ve come to realize that the by far the most important pilar to achieve your goals is consistency.

I’ve always set up goals for myself since I was a teenager. I must admit that I very rarely achieve the goals I pursue. My goals tend to be too ambitious for my own good because It’s very easy to overestimate how much I can do in one week, before emergencies or unplanned events occur, or you’re just much more tired than you thought you would on a Thursday afternoon and the plan to study 5h of machine learning after programming for 8h wasn’t that realistic.

Luckily it’s also easy to underestimate how much you can achieve with uninterrupted effort over longer periods of time like a year or two.

Fitness is a good example where people struggle with consistency. There’s lots of focus aimed at optimizing training time, set/rep/volume strategies, rest times, day splits, etc. But 90% of results come from just going to the gym regularly and following pretty much any routine. Optimization is important but your first concern must be to pick a fitness plan that you will actually be able to follow 6 months down the road.

You want to learn how to sing but have no time? Try doing one session every two weeks and practice 15 minutes on the weekends and after a year or two you’ll be surprised at how well you can sing. It might seem like a long time to you, and it is, but it’s better than setting up 2h a day to practice because you’re excited now but it’ll clearly become unsustainable in 2–3 months when you mix it with all the other things in you‘re doing.

So my advice, next time you want to set a goal, learn something or start a side-business: Prioritize consistency over intensity, even if the latter seems more appealing. Make sure you will be able to do the extra effort with all the other things you do day to day. And remember that it’ll be easy to overestimate how capable you are on the short term. But if you’re patient you’ll also be pleasantly surprised of how far you’ve come if you apply yourself consistently over the long term.