Today, I’m going to tell you the best and fastest way to end the self-sabotage of procrastination. This is information it has taken me years to distill. It can save you hundreds of hours of indecision and misery if you hear it and adopt the strategy.
This advice centers around one key word: consistency. Consistency is the king to all achievement. Success is determined not by what you do occasionally or from time to time. Excellence requires regular input and conscious focus.
Now, I’m not saying that consistency is everything in life. Oscar Wilde once said that “consistency is the hallmark of the unimaginative”. And he was right. Relying too much on structure cuts you off from responding to positive, life-affirming, spontaneous impulse. This is a vital part of life (and success) and should never be undervalued.
This is why I am going to advocate for incorporating both consistency and spontaneity into your life.
To incorporate consistency, I want you to set a baseline for action in the goals you have each day. Now here is the thing. This baseline needs to be insanely easy to achieve on a daily basis, every day, 365 days of the year. It should be so easy, you actually have a sense that it is too easy and will not make any impact on your success.
Your emotions can be very misleading. They always implore you to take on too much in terms of your goals. In addition, they also undermine small incremental steps you take as being ‘not good enough’. Drop this thinking completely.
I want you to try being humble here. If you’re struggling to move forward in life and are feeling stuck, consider for a moment that you do not currently have a good sense of what it truly takes to be successful. Maybe you’ve been wrong in some of your assumptions. Maybe you have been approaching this entirely the wrong way.
By taking action (achieving a baseline for doable goals) on a daily basis, you start to have a small, almost imperceptible sense of progress. It should be a small sense by the way; you shouldn’t feel like you’ve just pulled up trees by the roots. This baseline shouldn’t take you long to achieve either. You should be able to get this done very easily within a short period of time.
This is where spontaneity comes in. Having hit your baseline for daily achievable action, consider yourself entirely free. Free to do whatever you feel like doing. Be spontaneous. This could involve doing additional work on your goals. Or, it could involve doing something entirely unscripted or different. The spontaneity comes so much more easily when you have a sense of accomplishment within you from having been consistent earlier.
It is vitally important to have an achievable baseline for consistent action. This is for two primary reasons. Firstly, unexpected things come up all the time. And they eat your time. Your daily actions should take little time to complete. Secondly, your negative emotions will often overwhelm you and bring on paralysis. By remembering that you only need take small, consistent action, you’ll be able to move regardless of negative emotion. Remember, it’s not what you do in a day that counts. It’s what you do habitually over time that truly counts.
Enjoy the down time that comes with this approach. There will be days when you hit your baseline early and will have an entire day to do nothing if you feel like it. You need to start feeling free if you’re going to be successful in the long-term.
Enjoy the spontaneity. Do things that are off script. Do new things if you feel like it. You are consistent and free. That is your new mantra.
What will your life be like in 5, 7 or 10 years if you become truly consistent? What will your body of work resemble? Aim to be successful over time, not in a week, a month, or even a year. Broader perspectives are more mature and helpful. There are no shortcuts anyway. And attempting short cuts only leads to burnout and capitulation.
Commit to consistency and freedom.