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5 ways to become consistent in your life

#4 is to stop relying on your willpower

In my last post, we saw the 5 reasons we fail to become consistent :

  1. You are too vague about your goals
  2. You left obstacles in your way
  3. You are too focused on the outcome
  4. You are relying too much on your willpower
  5. You place too much value on your emotion

In this post, I want to mention how to overcome these hurdles.

Reason: You are too vague about your goals

Solution: Make a precise goal so that your brain doesn't have to spend time and energy making those decisions.

  • Every morning at 5 am I will write 500 words before starting my daily work
  • I will spend 30 mins on learning Application architecture before lunch
  • Before going to bed, I will read the novel

These statements are a clear direction to the brain; hence, the chances are to do less processing and focus the energy on the task.

Reason: You left too many obstacles in your way

Solution: Automate and Make it easy to find

I had this habit of opening Instagram or Facebook as soon as I used to unlock my phone. I desperately wanted to change this habit and create a habit of reading from various sources. These apps were scattered on different pages, and unconsciously my brain used to direct me to the screen space where Whatsapp was. I created a folder of apps and replaced whats’s with this folder.

I made it easy to find for me and made WhatsApp difficult to access.

Source: Atomic Habits by James Clear

I got this idea from James Clear of placing cues in obvious places to trigger the desired behavior.

The other aspect is to automate to get started. Rather than relying completely on the brain to remind, create some reminders to not spend energy remembering something.

Reason# 3: You are too focused on the outcome

Solution: Reframe your outcome goal as a learning goal

Instead of saying, “I want to get a promotion,” reframe it as, “I want to master JavaScript, improve my leadership skills, and learn as much as I can from my mentor each week.” Not only will this give your brain the dopamine rush of small wins, but it’ll also help you focus on the things you can control.

The small is winning the small battles rather than aspiring to win the war. I want to clear certification and made some unreasonable targets of studying schedule. I couldn’t stick to the scheduled day. That way, I not just continuously lost the battle of sticking to the schedule, I also lost the hope of clearing the certification.

Reason 4: You are relying too much on your willpower

Solution: Form a Ulysses pact.

You cannot be consistent with your willpower because something or the other, you will lose it. We lose it because of a lot of variables in our lives. So you cannot just make up your mind and go to the gym all day. You cannot think that you’re going to write 1000 words, and you will consistently be able to write those many words.

A Ulysses pact is – a plan that binds you to future action by locking your actions in the present when you’re thinking clearly about the goal’s merits.

Reason 5: You place too much value on your emotion

Solution: Spice Up Your Routine With Variety

When you’re consistent, feeling bored is inevitable. You have a brain wired for novelty, remember? Doing the same thing repeatedly – though crucial to success – is antithetical to your brain’s reward-seeking tendencies.

So drill this into your mind: Feelings like boredom, frustration, even despair do not necessarily mean something is wrong with your goal. They don’t mean you don’t have what it takes. They indicate that you might need a break, or it may be time to give your brain the dopamine hit it craves.

Write five pages of your novel every morning, but switch where you do your writing.

  • Work out in your living room every evening, but change up the exercise routines you do.
  • Read for 20 minutes before bed, but alternate the genres of the books you read, from mystery to self-help to sci-fi.
  • Journal every morning for 15 minutes, but use an online prompt generator to surprise you with what you should write about.
  • Host a monthly all-hands with your team, but invite a new speaker each time to keep things interesting.

You can imagine that our brain is the software that constantly gives us instructions to act. It determines our behavior. It’s a kind of program which runs our hardware. If the program consists of bugs and is corrupt, we can’t act in the way we want.

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Nilay Shrivastava

Nilay Shrivastava

I write about increasing Productivity, Time management and for the work that matters.