All that I desire can be attained if I develop the consistency for doing what I need to do. I have talked about consistency so much that some people I know cringe when they hear me use it. I can talk about it like an expert . . . I just struggle to do it. I realized that part of the reason I struggled so much with being consistent was that I did not fully understand what it meant.
My son made it clear to me the other day. “If we play outside for two hours consistently can we get an Xbox?”
“For how long do you think you need to do that?”
“One week is not consistently.” And the light bulb went off in my head. “One week is regularly for seven days. Six weeks is consistently.”
That particular number made sense to me. I have read that to replace a habit you need to do something for 21 days and to make it natural you need to do it for 42 days. If I do the same activity for 42 days in a row then I develop a consistency in that activity.
Are you being consistent or just doing something regularly for a bit?
Growing to Consistency
- 1. Start small. I started reading my Bible every morning. I read one Proverbs each day (to correspond with the date) for three months. I never missed a day – although sometimes I read in the afternoon or at night instead of the morning. One Proverb was not that much so I made time instead of making an excuse.
2. Add to what you are doing. I added more reading my morning routine. I noticed that there were 150 Psalms and that adds up to just 5 Psalms each day to finish all the Psalms in a month. I read six four of the days so that 119 can be read all on its own. Proverbs had become a natural part of my routine, so adding just 5 Psalms was not that much.
3. Avoid going overboard. The morning routine went so well that I added an afternoon study. Most days the study took only a few minutes. After two months I decided to add on some evening reading. I determined that reading four chapters each night I would be able to read all of the new testament (minus the Gospels which I had added to my morning reading). I also thought that it would be a good idea to include some old testament – so that meant adding three chapters from Isaiah for 22 days and then 3 chapters in Ezekiel for 8 days. Six days into that challenge and I realized it was not going to happen. My eyes were bigger than my ability to stay awake and read.
It can happen – no matter what that it may be in my life or in your life. I just have to be willing to take that first step and then continue stepping until I cross the finish line.