How belief leads to consistency
We all know that believing in something leads to us feel motivated to action. But a much more powerful result of believing in something is what keeps us taking action over time. There are a few reasons for this.
First, when you believe in something it becomes important to your personal identity. You feel the need to be consistent with your behavior because you want it to align with who you are.
Second, believing in something means that you can clearly and powerfully see the end result. This keeps you motivated throughout the long road of execution.
Third, believing in something makes it likely that you’ll be spending time around others who also believe in it. This usually ensures that it’s easier for you to do it regularly than not.
One of the biggest things you can do if you want to achieve long-term results is to believe in the importance of getting there with the knowledge that you won’t always feel like it. A big reason why so often we drop the ball on a long-term project is because we focus too much on motivation instead of discipline. We get the feeling that drives us at the start but we soon slip off the course as distractions enter and desire wanes.
To build discipline we need routines and systems and to leverage the power of scheduling. But there is still a gap between scheduling and execution. We must get into the habit of doing what we say we are going to do. In order to make that happen two things need to be true. First, you need to clearly decide that whatever you are putting on your schedule earns action always. Second, you need to decide what is worth putting on your calendar.
Herein lies one of the most important techniques you can implement in productivity. The art of building belief in your schedule. You need to understand that the actions you take today will lead to the life that you live in the future. This includes two types of tasks. Tasks where you can see the results or at least progress straightaway and tasks where you won’t.
For the tasks that you can see yourself making progress or getting results, this is just a case of reinforcing and conditioning yourself.
For the rest, you need to overcome the present bias which focuses us on how important it is to feel good in the now and undervalues the good feelings that come from the future.
The secret to this is in cultivating a compelling vision for what you want to achieve that is so strong it excites you massively. Then you take that vision and connect it to the actions that you need to take in order to achieve it. Then you go through what will happen if you are not consistent with these actions versus what will happen if you are.
Tell yourself a story about why it is going to be critical for you to consistently do what you need to do – and how you will handle whatever challenges, distractions or temptations might try and lure you away.
Tell others and get people to hold you accountable or simply tell them all what you are going to do regularly so you feel obliged to do it.
Make it easy for you to take the regular actions that you need to take. Organize your environment and structure your day so it’s easy to do.
Then put it on the calendar.
By doing things this way you are maximizing the likelihood that the you will do what you need to do when you need to do it.