The power of a consistent streak

Do you have a word of the year? A word or phrase that captures what you want to focus on?
I do and this year that word is CONSISTENT.
Actually I have two words, the other is ATTENTION, but as I write this I realise that if I was working with you and you told me you had two words I’d probably ask you which you’d choose if you could only have one. And since I’d never make you do something I’m not prepared to do myself, I chose.
So why consistent?
Well like Ease it’s a state I’d like to be in more and yet it often eludes me.
The thing is I’m a bit of a magpie when it comes to self improvement and every new shiny technique catches my eye. I try them for a while and either kind of forget about them because something new has come along or I get disheartened when I don’t see results after a few days.
Like in the winter of 2010, I was complaining to a personal trainer at the gym that I was doing everything right but could not shift any weight. To her absolute credit she looked me in the eye and point blank told me that I wasn’t consistent enough in my exercise.
Ouch. But she was right, and knowing she was paying attention to my attendance I smartened up, scheduled gym time in every day and when she took me on as a client 3 months later I’d already started to see results.
I have to keep reminding myself to pick one thing to be consistent with and stick with it until it becomes a habit.
Like this weekly letter.
At first I wasn’t sure if I could keep it up, and I definitely didn’t think I would be able to find something to write about every week, especially when my epic series on the 10 Components of the Thinking Environment came to an end, but here we are, this is edition 52!
There are two things that have helped me consistently publish every week:

1. A Visual Reminder

Every week I write the edition number on my calendar. There is something about seeing that number creep up every week that keeps me going. Seth Godin puts it brilliantly:

Streaks are their own reward.

Streaks create internal pressure that keeps streaks going.

Streaks require commitment at first, but then the commitment turns into a practice, and the practice into a habit.

Habits are much easier to maintain than commitments.

2. Accountability.

It is so much easier to slack off or give up when you think no one is looking.
One time a client told me that they look forward reading my Sunday morning letters. I don’t even know if they read them every week but there is now a voice in my head that doesn’t want to let them down. I week I even got up early on Sunday to write because telling myself it would be ok to miss just one, and I doubted anyone would notice, I just couldn’t do it.
Now that writing has become a habit I thought it was time to focus some consistency on something else.
And I have two things:
  1. To exercise for at least 30 minutes every week day – that’s what the orange ticks on the calendar are.
  2. To reflect for 6 minutes after each coaching session and workshop.
I can totally imagine you rolling your eyes right now ? . Come on Jude, two things!? Which one would you chose if you could only have one?
Well, the first one because it feels the easiest but the second one is going to have such a positive impact on my career that I find it hard to choose.
So I’m going against my own advice and I’m going to try them both and to help keep me accountable I’m going to report to you every week! You will become my accountibuddy.
Thank you
You have my permission to pipe up if you see me slacking ?
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