The fact that I keep on doing it, inspires the word “consistency” in my mind. Twenty years ago, I wrote a book, “Romancing the Bicycle,” for Johnny G, the record holding athlete who created the Spinning and soul cycle craze, and he and I had a conversation about two words – discipline and consistency. We agreed that “discipline” is a hard word, suggesting a rigid structure that you take on with unswerving fortitude, staying on track when the going gets rough. I recall many Sundays when I groped around to find the right topic for my blog and I didn’t give up. That was about using my hard earned discipline.
The grace comes when discipline turns into “consistency.” That’s a softer word that suggests a transformation from “I have to” to “I’m going to.” When consistency kicks in (it will if you hang in there long enough), a healthy curiosity arises and facing the thing you set out to do feels natural. You do what’s in front of you, not because you have to, but rather because you can’t imagine doing anything else. You really don’t want to do anything else.
Whether you’re searching for consistency around working out, eating a healthy diet, reading good books, being there for someone else, writing a blog every week, or showing up for work, it’s the same process. You start out using your discipline to get on track and the more you do it, the easier it becomes. When you stop feeling resentful or victimized by a promise you made to yourself, it becomes a labor of love, something that grounds you and helps you feel good about yourself. When we break promises we make to ourselves, we feel shattered. Who can we trust if we don’t trust ourselves? When we’re loyal to ourselves and we keep those promises, we feel self-confident and safe. If it feels like you simply can’t keep going, remember that feelings change. Hang in there, support yourself, talk nicely to yourself, get support from friends, and the feelings will morph into something else. You just need to have patience and compassion and the good stuff will come.
Are you consistent with yourself? How does that feel?