As I write this, we are already a week into 2022. I am not someone who charges into the new year at warp speed. I like to ease into the year. I take time to reflect on the year that has gone by. I slowly assess what I accomplished in the previous year and what areas I want to develop in the future. I operate from a place of continuing at a steady and sustainable pace. I watch my social media feeds full of people slaying it. It seems like everyone is going full throttle at work, home, and with health. When I think I am behind, I remind myself that consistency is the key. I continue to work on habits that I have been building in the prior year while slowly adding new ones. I am not sending my brain into freak-out mode. I am also not going in hot, only to fizzle out by February. I tend to do things slowly and maintain consistency over intensity. You will probably not find me participating in a 75 Hard Challenge anytime soon (or ever).
I was listening to an advertisement today for guitar lessons of all things. I took guitar lessons for a few weeks when I was about seven. I do not remember anything about playing. What I do know is I was not consistent. I started taking the lessons. Then I quit. It did not come easy. The result is I gave up. The advertisement pointed out that the only people that learn to play are the ones who are consistent in practicing the skill. They practice the skill week after week. Those that start and quit never gain any traction. They have to continue to start at the beginning and fail to maintain skills that they can build on. They basically keep starting over again and again.
Consistency is essential when working towards a goal. It doesn’t matter how fast or how slow your progress is. As long as you don’t quit, you will eventually get there. It is inevitable. Consistency, not intensity, is the predictor of success. A combination of intensity and consistency will help you to your outcome faster. Intensity without consistency will not help you cross finish lines.
I was unwinding in a warm bath when an example of consistency over skill became evident. I used to get pedicures every few months. Each time the technician would work hard to get my feet smooth and file off the rough skin that built up. I did not go regularly. My inconsistent pedicures made the job tough for them. I judged the quality of my pedicure by how well they restored my feet to optimal smoothness. During the height of the pandemic, nail salons were closed for close to a year in California. My feet were neglected. Inconsistent pedicures became nonexistent ones.
When nail salons began reopening in March of 2021, I set up pedicure appointments every two weeks. I started going every other Tuesday like clockwork. After each pedicure, I would come home and complain to Todd about my dissatisfaction with the result. I love my nail technician but always feel the technician that does my pedicure rushes through the process. She does not do a great job smoothing the rough patches. Todd encourages me to go somewhere else, but I stay. The staff is all wonderfully kind. I have been a regular customer here since they opened in 1986. Most of the technicians are still the same. When we had our plumbing business, the owner was a loyal customer. I settle for mediocre pedicures because I do not have the heart to go somewhere else. I pick the people over the quality of the work.
As I was soaking my feet in the tub last week, I noticed how smooth they were. My feet have never been so healthy and soft. It was like one of those life lesson moments. I complain about the mediocre pedicures I have consistently received for almost a year, but these pedicures have improved my skin. My feet are healthier, prettier, and smoother than they have been in years. It was a tangible and visual example that consistency will get results. You don’t have to hit it hard or be perfect to get results. The key is to show up and keep taking small actions until you get there.
I tell my family, friends and clients the importance of developing consistent habits. I realize the benefits but this tangible example delighted me. My mediocre pedicures still give me amazing results after consistently doing them for almost a year. Isn’t it cool when we get evidence to support things we know to be true?