8 Genius Ways To Become Incredibly Consistent At Anything In Life

When it comes to achieving your goals, consistency is everything.

Last updated on Jun 17, 2024

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Every now and then, we may have an epiphany, telling ourselves that if we consistently do what we are supposed to do for. along enough time, we are bound to achieve most of our goals.

But then, we don't do anything about it and end up getting sucked back into the black hole of inconsistency. So, we don't see results and end up feeling sad and unaccomplished. It’s the same thing over and over again, and we become sick of it.


But not this time. This time, we can decide to do something about it, allowing us to build better consistency.

Here are 8 genius ways to become consistent at anything

1. Let go of your obsession with intensity

woman trying to be less intense Bruno Cortés FP / Pexels

Whenever we’re trying to work on something new, we always overestimate how much we can do. This can be attributed to three factors.

First is the initial excitement of the idea of improving our lives, which can cause us to be a bit over-ambitious. Next, our ego plays a factor too. (For example, we think, "Five minutes of reading a day? That’s ludicrous. I can easily read for two hours a day.") Finally, there is Short-term thinking, or wanting results quickly.

But that initial intensity always fades out. It becomes harder to keep it up. And then we end up giving up the habit altogether. But to be consistent, think long-term and start small. It’s a smart move.

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2. Avoid the black hole of 'zero'

unmotivated man Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

A black hole is a mass in the universe whose gravity is so strong that even light cannot escape it. Hence, we call them black holes. Zero is a black hole, too.

You might think that zero is just one less than one, but that’s not true. Zero is much less than one, because zero has destructive powers of its own. A zero-day has the power to convert the next day into a zero-day as well. And on and on.

On the other hand, one has an amazing power of its own. One leads to two, and then to five and 10. This means that if you normally do 10 minutes of meditation, but today you feel like 10 is too much, you can opt for one minute. And after that one minute is over, you’ll probably feel like doing more, and you’ll end up doing 5 minutes, or even 10.

Whatever habit you want to start, pick a bare minimum for it. For instance, when writing, start with 100 words. And then, even on your worst days, don’t do zero. Do your bare minimum. 


3. Maintain streaks using accountability apps

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Streaks are hands down the best productivity tool. The desire to not break a streak yields amazing consistency. Once you reach a significant number — say, 30 — it’s improbable you’ll break the streak.

So, you should try to build streaks for whatever habits you want to start. Maybe you use the Coach application  to build up streaks on writing, studying, exercising, or eating healthy.

No matter what that habit is, be sure to stick to it. Because when you do certain habits like this daily, you are becoming more consistent in the process.

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4. Write down the sacrifices you must make

woman writing down thoughts Marcus Aurelius / Pexels

It’s quite obvious that to achieve anything, you have to sacrifice something. But there’s a lack of clarity about what we’re willing to sacrifice and what we’re not willing to sacrifice.

Unless and until you know what you’re supposed to sacrifice, it won't be easy to maintain consistency.

So, on a piece of paper, write down the sacrifices needed to achieve consistency. This will help guide your subconscious and prepare you for what you’re aiming for.

5. Make exceptions for what you're not willing to sacrifice

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The problem with streaks is that people make them way too strict to be functional in the real world.

For instance, if you're trying to build a streak of "eating healthier," but you love food and don’t want to go 100 days straight without eating any junk food, does that mean you cannot use the psychological benefit of a streak in such a case?

You can, by making streaks a little more flexible by adding in a list of exceptions. For example, your exceptions may be that you can eat a cheat meal on Sundays or you're allowed to have a piece of cake on birthdays. The key point is that you will still check in for your streak of eating healthy.

You might think that this defeats the purpose of the streak, but the flexibility actually helps you factor in reality. This way, you can live life and have the psychological benefits of the streak. But you have to stay cautious and not let your exceptions run wild.

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6. Make mindful decisions in new situations

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Maybe you have a streak of exercising, where you must go to the gym five days a week, and on the other two days, you train your core at home. This is the ideal you're aiming for. But even this streak has exceptions, like it’s okay to skip gym during exams, because that’s an exception you can foresee and add the flexibility for it.

But sometimes, you’ll face new situations, at which time you won't know the right answer. But in those moments, you make the decision that is best for your health, safety, and well-being.

Simply put, when you’re not able to complete your normal threshold, make a mindful decision and do your bare minimum. Even in such situations, you get to check-in. Because the important thing is that you showed up, and it doesn’t matter for how long.

7. Avoid making a second mistake

woman trying not to make mistakes Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

If you end up breaking your streak, remember that the day after you break a streak is a crucial day. That day also has destructive powers. It will want to form a streak of its own called "no show." So, it’s vital that you restart your streak.

Avoiding the second mistake is an idea shared by author James Clear. The premise is that errors are okay and are part of the process, but they shouldn’t become a part of the pattern.

Don’t let your one error grow, mutate and overwhelm you. Put a stop to it. When you break a streak, restart another immediately. Make it your highest priority.


8. Use the 'plus one' rule

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Let’s say on your first streak, you reach up to 34 days. And then you miss a day, but you immediately restart your streak. Then what? The plus-one rule says that you should aim for at least 34 days, plus an additional day, for a total of 35 days.

Why is this important? First, this way, you’ll do more than you did the last time. Second, it will be more fun because you’re challenging yourself.

If you make these two rules — "avoid the second mistake" and "the plus-one rule" — the pillars of your streak-building, think about how easily you’ll move towards achieving your ambitions!

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Akshad Singi, M.D. is a writer whose work has been published in Better Humans, Mind Cafe, Medium, and more.