The idea that one single habit can change your circumstances is a bold thought. One habit that everyone can possess, but few will practice. Often we find ourselves attributing others success and victory to money, talent or some external factor that they have inherited. We almost never consider that their success would be due to their impeccable ability to be and stay consistent over time. The truth is that the most successful diet or training plan does not exist. The best diet or training plan is the one that people/athletes can adhere to over time. This is the single most important difference between someone who achieves a desired outcome and one who doesn’t. Most people do not exercise the grit it takes to be consistent and end up falling short of their goals.
Milton Hershey, the man who created the Hershey kiss has to be one of the best examples of how to exercise consistency. Despite growing up in a dirt poor family and making it to the 4th grade before failing out of school, he developed an overwhelming passion for candy and pursued his dream of opening his own factory. Don’t get it twisted, Hershey is no overnight success story. In fact, he began his journey with 5 failed business attempts before the age of 30 and his parents refused to help him on his last attempt. Ironically his last attempt resulted in the creation of a multimillion dollar business, the “Lancaster Caramel Company”. Hershey later sold this company and moved back to his home town to revolutionize the chocolate industry and patent “Hershey’s” in 1900 which remains to be a growing fortune to this day.
Big deal. So how is Hershey’s story relevant to myself and everyone else? It’s simple, Hershey was CONSISTENT. Call it perseverance, mental toughness, tenacity but the driving force behind his success was his unmatched ability to remain consistent and stick to the process knowing that the outcome he desired would follow in time. The struggle for athletes and people in general is that sticking to anything for any period of time is hard. So before we even find out if a diet or training plan is effective, we have already given up and play victim. So how can we create consistency or at least make a valid attempt in ourselves and those we coach? Here are three steps that I have found useful in the short 22 years I’ve been on earth:
1.) Create value within an action – Actions are directly proportional to what one values.
If I value brushing my teeth twice a day because I want a blinding white smile, then you can bet I am going to do it because I value the outcome.
Find a way to create value within in the process. REMIND of the desired outcome. REINFORCE what it takes to achieve the outcome. REACT in a way that will actively transport one toward the outcome.
2.) Make the action a habit – Anyone can do something once; habits are formed in time.
When I brush my teeth twice for the first time, that’s considered an action. Over a period of weeks If I remain brushing my teeth twice a day, it soon can become a habit. Bottom line is that performing an action once or a few times is not consistency. Being consistent means to practice that action over and over.
3.) Repeated action forms a habit and a habit becomes routine – You are what you repeatedly do.
If I want to become the best goalie in the history of the NHL, then I better act like it and begin doing what platinum status goalies do. The best NHL goalie is not one who makes the save of a lifetime rather the one who makes a lifetime of great saves.
Consistency is just another tool in the box, whether you choose to use it or not is up you. Just remember that the only cost of being consistent is time and though we don’t know how much we have on this earth, why not spend it on something you value. Do what makes you happy but always be consistent with your actions.