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December 20, 2023

3 Keys to Becoming More Consistent

By Craig Groeschel

It’s not what we do occasionally that makes a difference. It’s what we do consistently that matters.

If we’re going to stick to our decisions and become everything we’re meant to become, we have to grow in our consistency. And we can.

There are a variety of things I used to do sporadically but today do consistently.

What happened?

I learned three game-changing principles that changed my life:

1. Start With Why

A recent study found that New Year’s resolutions die, on average, by January 19.

The reason? Many resolutions are the result of desire, not devotion. A desire can feel strong, but it’s typically shallow and fleeting. Devotion to a why goes deeper, and without a compelling why, you are not likely to stay consistent.

Why do I say most New Year’s resolutions are the result of desire, not devotion? Because New Year’s resolutions start on New Year’s Day. Think about that. You waited until January 1.

You had a moment last year where you thought, “I should lose ten pounds” or “I want to quit smoking” or “I want to start saving money.”

So you decided you would do it ... on January 1. The day you felt that desire might have been September 29 or November 4, but you put off acting on it until January 1.

Why did you wait? Because you didn’t have a strong enough why. If you had a real why, you wouldn’t have thought, “On January 1, I am going to start eating healthy, but until then I am going to eat anything and everything!”

No, you’d have a strong why, and it would compel you to make a decision and be consistent now.

Take my goal to get in better shape.

My first why—wanting to look better—was honestly a weak why. But while reading Scripture, I was reminded that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Instead of just trying to look better on the outside, I decided to honor God with what I put on the inside. In the same way I honor Him with my finances, or by seeking Him in prayer, or by pursuing purity, I would honor God with my body. Suddenly, saying no to the wrong food and saying yes to the right disciplines became so much easier.

The right why gave me the motivation to do what I felt God calling me to do.

If you want to become more consistent, define your why. Go deep. Pray. Look within. Tap in to your passion.

Start with why.

2. Plan to Fail

When it comes to my body and my physical health, my why drives my what. Because of the power that comes from my why, I now have a clear what, including:

  • A target for each of my vitals, including weight range
  • Specific types of food I do and don’t eat
  • Specific weight training and cardio goals
  • A target time to go to bed and wake up
  • A specified amount of water to consume and when to drink it (Hint: Too late in the day and I will get up three times in the night!)

Am I living this out perfectly? Of course not. Why? I’m human. In fact, I don’t plan to be perfect. I plan to fail.

If you want to succeed, plan to fail.

I know that seems counterintuitive and may even sound contradictory, but it’s true. In fact, one reason we don't follow through on our commitments is because we don’t plan to fail. Perfectionism is a roadblock in great decision making.

You focus so much on the potential to make mistakes that it’s easy to decide not to do it at all.

There’s a big difference between being consistent and being perfect. You are going to fail.

Everyone fails. That means you won’t be perfect. But your goal is not perfection. Your goal is consistency.

You’re wise to plan to fail and give yourself grace when you do. That way you can keep going and stay consistent.

3. Fall in Love With the Process

Too many of us obsess about the goal. “I’ve got to lose twenty pounds!” “I need to pay off all my credit cards!” “I’ve got to read through the whole Bible!”

We have this “win” we’re going after. We know it will feel amazing to achieve it. The problem is that day may be far off.

  • Losing twenty pounds might take you six months.
  • Paying off your credit cards could take two years.
  • Reading through the Bible may take a whole year.

That’s not a bad thing, but if you’re obsessed with the goal, it will feel like it’s taking forever. If you’re focused on your win, every day you still haven’t achieved it might feel like you’re losing.

When you fall in love with the process, you become successful when you do what you need to do today.

Keep Growing in Your Consistency

For more practical strategies that will help you become more consistent, order my newest book Think Ahead: 7 Decisions You Can Make Today for the God-Honoring Life You Want Tomorrow.

It’s time to start experiencing the joy and freedom God has for you! It’s time to Think Ahead.

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