Consistency — Your Most Important Skill

And what to do when you break the chain

Danny Oak
The Startup
Published in
4 min readJun 27, 2019


One of my favorite books from 2018 was Atomic Habits, by James Clear.

It is filled with wisdom and golden nuggets showing us how to form good habits (or quit bad ones) but one of the aspects in the book that resonated more with me was about the importance of consistency, probably because I’ve failed so many goals and have quit so many times during my life due to the lack of it.

When we are trying to adopt a positive habit, such as following a healthy diet, going to the gym or reading every day, the main factor of success (or failure) is consistency.

It is the consistency that will allow us to root the habit in our lives and make it almost instinctive.

It is the consistency that will allow us to become what we want to be.

The habit tracker

To help us achieve consistency, a very common tactic is to mark a red cross on a calendar every day that we complete an activity.

The visual effect that you get after a few days or weeks is very motivating. That great chain of red crosses will make us feel really successful.

Photo on Stencil

But then, on a day like any other, life happens and for whatever reason our beautiful current breaks.

What happens then is far more important than you may think.

Broken link = ruined chain?

Is our goal lost? Do we need to start all over from the beginning to form that habit or it’s not even worth restart it at all?

No, this insuccess does not define us.

This misstep does not establish whether we will succeed or whether we will fail, but our next action does.

So, we have two options two deal with it:

Our attitude toward that missing cross in the calendar can be discouraging:

“Since I failed once, it doesn’t matter if I fail again…”
“Trying so hard is worthless, I’ll never be able to stay…



Danny Oak
The Startup

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