As a kid, you were taught how to "get good" at something with three simple words of advice…
"Practice makes perfect."
It wasn't bad advice. But really, it wasn't totally accurate, either.
For starters, there's a huge gulf between "getting better" at something and being "perfect." You could practice forever and never be perfect. That's why "perfection" should never be a goal. It's unrealistic and unmeasurable. Instead, you should always strive to reach the next level from where you are now … and the next level and the next.
But also, it's not just the "practice" that makes you better. It's the consistency. The commitment. The act of doing something over and over until it turns from a "habit" into something much more profound: an actual change in behavior.
There's where the real power of consistency can lead to massive changes in your life.
1) Consistency isn't static. It grows like wildfire.
Think about it. When you start a new workout routine, which of these motivates you more: going to the gym once a week or going every day?
Every day, right? The simple act of showing up, again and again, creates a pattern that you don't want to break.
Same goes for almost any other routine. When you're trying a new dance move, it's more effective to practice for 20 minutes every day than to do it for two hours once a week.
The consistency builds momentum. It pushes you. It keeps you committed to your goals, even when you're tired and stressed out. And by staying consistent, things only get bigger and better from there.
2) It changes your behavior.
What happens when you go from sitting on the couch every night to running 2 miles after dinner instead?
First, there's the obvious benefits: you get faster. Stronger. Healthier. But don't forget what happens psychologically. By completely altering your routine—going from sedentary to active—you prove to yourself that you're capable of changing your behavior. You realize, "I did this. I made this happen. What else can I accomplish? What other positive changes can I make?"
Making those changes becomes addictive.
That is how consistency can create big changes in our lives. Even if you're doing the same 2-mile run every night, you're opening your eyes to other changes that are possible in your life.
3) You begin working smarter, not harder.
Bestselling author and entrepreneur Seth Godin famously eats the same breakfast every single day and he has for years (blended frozen bananas, hemp powder, almond milk, dried plum and walnuts).
Why? Because it makes his life easier. It's one less decision he has to make, so he can focus his energy and thought on more important things.
Let's take that same idea and apply it to something bigger. Say you're starting a business but you're getting bogged down by phone calls, emails and administrative tasks. Imagine what you could accomplish if you condensed all that administrative stuff into a single hour, from 8-9 am every day. This would create a consistent schedule that allows you more time for actually building and growing your business, not just "running" it.
4) Your skills take off.
Do any activity every day and you're guaranteed to get better at it.
Most of us are NOT born with natural talent. Even the most talented people weren't born with superior skills! They simply had the propensity for it. They still had to work at it. They had to practice. They had to harness their talent and use it on a regular basis to reach their full potential. Otherwise, their talent goes to waste.
Let's face it, if you try mountain-climbing tomorrow for the first time, you're going to be terrible! But imagine doing it every day for a month … a year … five years. Consistency is the only thing that will turn you from "beginner" to "professional."
5) If you can't do the little things right, how can you do the big things right?
Have you seen the viral video of a Navy SEALS Admiral talking about the importance of making your bed every morning?
When William Harry McRaven entered basic SEAL training decades ago, his instructors required all the new recruits to make their beds to perfection. It felt ridiculous. After all, McRaven was training to be a Warrior – a tough, battle-hardened SEAL. Who cares about making the bed?
But McRaven soon understood a valuable lesson. Finishing that simple task every morning gave him a sense of pride … a sense of accomplishment … and the encouragement to take on more tasks every day. It also reinforced the idea that the little things in life matter. "If you can't do the little things right," he said, "you'll never be able to do the big things right."
Consistency isn't just about doing things over and over. It's about doing them right.
Put it into practice today.
Truth is, it doesn't really matter what you start doing, as long as you do it consistently. It's all about proving to yourself that behavior-change is possible.
Start taking a 10-minute walk every day. Cook a new meal every night. Make new connections. Take up new hobbies. Read more books. Learn. Grow. Build. Create. Dance until your feet burn a hole in the rug.
Whatever it is … do it every day and don't give up. You'll soon see how a little bit of consistency can bring big changes in so many other aspects of your life.