The only New Year’s resolution you need to make | Sacha Cabral

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NewYearsResolution

Sacha Cabral (@sachacabral)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday December 30, 2015 – Oh, it’s that time of year. The fridge is overflowing with leftovers from Christmas day, there are trash bags filled with torn up wrapping paper, ribbons and bows. Now it’s a mad dash to lose enough weight to fit into our New Year’s Eve outfits…well for some of us anyway.

At some point in the last few years, New Year’s Day eclipsed Thanksgiving and Christmas as my favorite holiday. It’s something about new beginnings and the opportunity to start fresh. For years I’ve made lists and lists of all the things I wanted to achieve in the New Year. This year is different. There is only one New Year’s Resolution I’m making: consistency. Whatever it is that I want, I resolve to be consistent in my efforts to attain it.

The main reason that our New Year’s Resolutions are forgotten by Valentine’s Day is that we don’t make the long-term connection between our wants and our actions. Consistency is this link. We kick down the door to New Year’s with guns blazing, then get bored and drop the assault. That’s why gym memberships skyrocket in January and fizzle out by March. We lack the ability to be consistent.

Whatever your vision is for 2016, commit to being consistent in your efforts to achieve it. That may mean making time each day to exercise or reaching out to one new potential contact for business each day or making it home in time for dinner with the kids each night. While our visions are different, the equation is the same: consistency equals results.

Consistency doesn’t replace vision

Consistency and vision work hand in hand. You need a vision in order to know what action you’re going to be consistent at and you need to be consistent in order to achieve your vision. Makes sense, right? So, start there. It’s up to you to decide what your vision is for yourself. Once you’ve decided on your vision and, subsequently, your goals, you have to decide what action you need to be consistent at. It might be as simple as meditating each morning. It might be learning a new culinary recipe each day.

Why being consistent is so hard

Being consistent seems so simple. It’s like Nike’s Just Do It slogan. That’s until life gets in the way: other obligations, Scandal’s season premier, a late night at the office or just sheer laziness. Being consistent looks so much easier than it really is. If it were easier, there would be an overflow of professional athletes, a rise in entrepreneurial ventures, sales people with increasing income and on and on.

The truth is consistency is hard because it takes willpower and is an uphill battle against our comfort zones. Consistently waking up at 5am to exercise is admirable. Anyone can do it once, maybe twice. But people who do it every day, I admire you. The need to be consistent will fight against the natural wants of your body – the preference to sleep, the feeling of procrastination and the doubt that it won’t make a difference anyway.

How to flip the switch on consistency

Achieving consistency in your actions boils down to the habits you have. Your habits will make or break you because they’re either serving you or sabotaging you. Decide what habit you need to create in order to make consistency a part of your daily routine. Start small. No need to go to the moon and back your first time around. If morning runs are the habit you’re trying to create, start with a 10 minute run. I know you’re scoffing like, that’s not going to do anything. Remember consistency isn’t about the one time, it’s about the repeated action. The next day move to 15 minutes, then 20, then 30. Suddenly, you will be running an hour each morning. You’ve built the habit.

Once you’ve flipped the switch on consistency, that action becomes a habit. And once it’s a habit, your odds of success increase.

Making consistency a priority

The other reason a lot of us are unable to be consistent is we simply don’t make the action a priority. Its like, “if I have time this weekend, I’ll go for a run”. Or then there’s, “I’ll try”. You’ve got to get aggressive with yourself. There’s no “try”, there’s no “if I find the time”, there’s no “maybe”. You’re either doing this or you’re not. Decide.

If you decide to pursue your goals, schedule in consistency. Schedule in time to work on a course, write for a blog, exercise, meditate, or be a present parent. Don’t assume it will just happen because you thought about it once.

You can also make consistency a priority by changing your surroundings. If your vision is to launch a digital marketing agency and your consistent action is spending time each day to build your website and network yourself with potential clients, hang around other entrepreneurs in the tech space. Surround yourself with people who are doing what you want. It gives you the motivation to keep pushing when everything feels like it’s pushing back.

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bio-authorI am a writer, a speaker and a life coach for individuals seeking growth and development in their life. I am a firm believer that the answers you’re seeking lay within you. My job is to assist in pulling them out. Originally from the Caribbean, I’ve lived mostly in warm climates (hoping to change that someday). I love sunshine, the sea and the simple beauties of life. Follow me @sachacabral or visit my blog at http://sachac.com/the-blog/

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  • Earthling

    If we could just find the part of the brain responsible for forming habits, we could set up all our resolutions as good habits there, and execute them without willpower and effort. A timely and interesting essay.