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Why do we struggle with consistency?

Why do we struggle with consistency?
In this episode, Taimur and I discuss consistency discuss how consistency in almost every domain is a super power, and come to a few conclusions about what helps us be more consistent with things like morning routines, gym workouts and writing practices.

Not Overthinking is a podcast about happiness, creativity, and the human condition. We talk about things to help us think, do, and be better. Things like social interaction, lifestyle design, mental models...things that are hard to examine, but important to explore. And hopefully, things that make for a fun and interesting chat every week.

Some of the highlights from our discussion:

Consistency is probably the single most important predictor of 'success’, but results take time. We talk about things like healthy eating, going to gym and building a YouTube following where you don’t see instant results and where success ultimately relies upon consistency. We discuss how we shouldn’t be allowed to complain about our lack of success in anything unless we've been doing it consistently for at least a year if not longer.

Removing optionality and having a reason or a ‘why’ aids consistency. Ali talks about the success of his morning routine and how it was built upon having a purpose – in his case writing and going to the gym – which in turn aided his consistency with his exercise and weekly newsletter. This idea of having a reason acts as a reinforcing factor and once you’ve done it once, it promotes consistency in the future too. One of the books that we discuss which promotes these ideas is ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear which suggests a four-pronged framework for building good habits – make it easy to follow, make it satisfying, make it obvious and make it attractive.

The words we use to describe things colour the way that we think of them. We discuss how the concepts of motivation and inspiration can have particular connotations and by removing them from our mental space, we can accomplish more. The other particularly destructive phrase that we mention is ‘I don’t have time’ which encourages us to think that time is a currency that is out of our control. In reality, we can decide how we allocate our time.

Inspiration doesn't precede action, but instead, often follows it. Taimur suggests that we’ve got the causality the wrong way around – the common narrative is that inspiration precedes action. But action is more important than inspiration. Motivation is a myth – what you need is action and discipline. The model is not that action comes from inspiration, it’s that action leads to inspiration which creates a feedback loop that helps to maintain consistency.

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