Life is full of starts and stops. Progress and setbacks. We often feel like we are muddling through without seeing the light of day. Inundated with information. Interrupted by notifications. Being slaves to the calendar we so thoughtfully crammed to believe we are productive.
All of this leads to many excuses we create and tell ourselves. Making us feel good by convincing ourselves why something we thought was important was not worthy of our follow-through and time. We laugh when we hear “It can wait until tomorrow”. Leaving us exhausted and empty. For we never seem to complete what we dream of or what we set out to do in a timely manner.
Time slips by quickly. Months go by as if they were days. While it’s not clear what we can do to break through the fog we live in, there is an approach with no resemblance to a shiny object or new app. Much duller than most things you can think of. Rejecting the short-term upfront for more permanent long-term gains.
It’s one of life’s most difficult things to develop. It is the combination of discipline with consistent effort. Not intensity, focus, or knowledge. I struggle with this every day of my life.
What do we mean by discipline with consistent effort? Discipline implies regularity. It acts like a control mechanism when we make it a habit in our lives. When you have the interest to do something over and over again then you begin to show you have discipline.
Consistent effort has a component of regularity in it as well. It speaks to doing something at a given pace or intensity over multiple days/weeks/months/years. Never deviating greatly. Whether the metric is time, energy, miles walked, pages read, or whatever.
For about a year I walked 4 miles on each of 5 days a week on a treadmill. Today I don’t. Marked my weight down on my calendar each day. Today I don’t. Keeping track of my food intake was easy for a while. Today I don’t. So the struggle with my weight continues. Without discipline with consistent effort, this struggle will always be with me.
Each of us individually has our own struggles. Taking many forms. What we struggle with others find easy. Making us both jealous, frustrated, and discouraged when comparing ourselves to others.
Cultivating a strength of implementing discipline with consistent effort is hard. But well worth the effort once we understand it has nothing to do with how much we know and everything to do with what we choose to do regularly.