Most people put too much focus on events and not enough on patterns. This leads to a belief that these events are where success and happiness are made or broken.
They assume the vacation or new purchase is going to make them happy. It does, but because it is simply a one-time event, the happiness soon fades.
The reason is that human nature is actually more attuned to consistency. Think about your favorite restaurant; is it your favorite because one time you went there you had a great experience? Or is it because every time you go there you have a consistent experience?
What restaurant would you recommend to a friend – one that is known to have great food, some of the time or one that has consistently provided a good experience for you?
This is also true for times when you are setting a goal to get better at something. If you want to improve something, consistency is incredibly important. But most people don’t understand that so they jump to effort and motivation to try and get them to their goal.
In Work the System by Sam Carpenter, the author states, “Work the System methodology relies on the personal habit of consistency, the child of character and self-discipline. Consistency is not a hand tool one picks up from the tool bench to use only when needed; it is a personal trait to pack around everywhere, a trait to be used every minute, permanently embedded in the fiber of your being.”
If you have a friend that is trustworthy most of the time but has been known to stab you in the back on occasion, would you trust that friend with important information? If you have a friend who only steals money from you 5% of the time together, do you trust that friend? These may be obvious but point to the importance of consistency.
Indeed, character, self-discipline and many other factors rely on consistency. But when we can identify patterns and we put more value in consistency than in one-time events, we can start to change our self to meet our goals.
We can start to consistently exercise and eat right. We can form a pattern of saving money instead of spending everything we make. We can consistently go above and beyond at work instead of occasionally doing a good job.
When you set your goals, make sure you take into account the importance of being consistent. Then when you start working towards your goals you can value consistently doing what you need to, instead of hoping a one-time effort will be enough to get you to your idea of success.