How to Set Goals Without Having an Existential Crisis (2/3)

How to be Consistent (Without Being Consistent)

In case you missed the first article of my three-week series on how to set goals without having an existential crisis along the way… Part 1: How to Come Up With Meaningful Goals That Actually Excite You

As a project manager, I’ve learned one truth about people:

We have terrible memories about the desire we once felt for doing something. Trust me, even when you’re a multi-millionaire you will forget things that you once had high hopes to accomplish. The little secret I know is that successful people aren’t more motivated (so don’t waste time hoping that you will one day be more motivated to achieve your goals). Instead, they speak their goals out loud and then have no choice but to pursue them.

You really just throw yourself into the deep end.

Even with The Friday Newsletter. I’ve been writing it every week for over two years, and yet, on some days like today, I really truly struggle to sit in front of the page and type. It’s the day before my cousin’s wedding, we’ve had family and friends flying in all week, we’re packing to drive to the venue today, and I have about an hour to write compared to my usual leisurely morning pace. Would I prefer to be on the couch downstairs with Miguel after being apart for six weeks? Of course.

That’s the reality: you don’t love what you do AND want to do it all the time, but you show up and stay consistent.

Think of your Future Self—the one we mapped out in Part 1—and let’s take the next steps to call her in…

Part 2: How to be Consistent (Without Being Consistent)

Yes, I’m contradicting myself. I’ve found, the more I accept contradictions in life, the more successful I feel (and become?) What if I said routines and consistency are sometimes an escape from doing the hard things. Has anyone ever admitted that out loud?

Have you ever had a consistent gym routine that feels comfortable, safe, and makes you feel just good enough about your fitness to not strive for more?

Have you ever had a consistent job that feels comfortable, safe, and makes you feel just good enough about your career to not strive for more?

Have you ever had a consistent friend group that feels comfortable, safe, and makes you feel just good enough about your network to not strive for more?

Consistency isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

And yet, we overhype it, attaching so much meaning to how often or for how long we’ve been doing something. Earlier, I shared my consistent newsletter writing routine. How every Friday, even if it’s not my best writing or most inspired experience, I will send a newsletter.

Here’s the nuance that’s important to share: Behind my consistent two-year streak of writing is half a decade of inconsistent writing. A blog that I started and stopped. A LinkedIn series I started and stopped. An instagram posting schedule I started and stopped. I could have made those years mean I’m not a real writer or shouldn’t pursue writing. Or? I could make it mean that I was experimenting to find my place in the writing world. Which of these two thoughts do we think have kept me in the game this long?

When you look back at your own start-and-stop pattern, try to see it differently. Not as someone who is a failure because she can’t commit to anything, but as someone who is so incredibly committed to her personal growth that she will always get back up and try something new. You might not be consistent in the exact activity you started years ago, but I can guarantee you are consistent in becoming a stronger, smarter, more successful version of yourself.

In the end, we’re all hoping to win the game of consistency that we’ve been sold is the secret to success. Instead, we should spend more time building a sustainable life and career we love.

Consistency in the short-term is always messy.

Being consistent in who you are over a long period is what keeps you in the game.

And for today? That’s the entire message I want to share.

Less instructional “how-to” on becoming a better goal setter or person and more reminders that you probably know exactly what you need to do next.

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