Have you ever thought about why it’s so hard to be consistent?
Whether we’re talking about exercise, diet, or daily mindset rituals, consistency (think streaks!) can be difficult even on a normal day.
When we start to layer on any adversity and uncertainty (yes, everyone is facing that right now) it truly can feel impossible to follow through day after day.
Streaking Through Life
Calgary-based pediatrician, plantrician, marathon-enthusiast, and author Dr. Peter Nieman, is a streaker. This means he has run every single day since December of 2009, and he has no plans of stopping anytime soon. This running ritual – or streak – has created space for Dr. Nieman to face the difficult challenges life has put on his path. I think it’s so important that we talk about how we can use adversity, especially right now, to make ourselves stronger. Because when we make ourselves stronger, we can show up for one another and run this race called life together.
Finding Your Own Pace
While Peter’s accomplishment may seem unattainable for you, it’s important to keep in mind that everyone has their own unique pace in life. There’s never a reason to compete or compare. Instead, each of us is tasked with seeking out good habits that work for us, so that we can experience our own conscious direction (or pivots) in life.
Consider these questions: Why do I get up in the morning? What’s my purpose? What small change and ritual can I establish to move in the direction of my pivot?
Start small and build. The important thing is that you are consciously choosing to create a habit that will move you forward in the first place. And the more meaningful it is to you, the more consistent you’ll be.
That consistency is how you can start streaking your way through life too! And the result of that consistency is resilience, something we all need right now to continue moving forward.
“So much of what we experience, we experience by default, because we aren’t actively choosing. We either do the thing or we don’t and both are choices” -Dr. Peter Nieman
Why Do You Get Up in the Morning?
One thing that I love to do and have consistently practiced for a very long time, is to set the tone of my day as soon as I wake up. I focus on gratitude and the mantra I speak into existence is four simple words: I love my life. Rituals like this and Dr. Nieman’s, over time, WILL have a massive impact on your mindset and your capacity to handle the challenges life brings. Just like running, we have to train our minds to have the capacity to stay strong and to continuously move forward. Even when life gives us what we didn’t want or didn’t choose. For Dr. Nieman, this was the unexpected loss of his teenage son. In this moment, and in the moments that followed, Dr. Nieman consciously chose to face this adversity and let it develop him rather than destroy him. How can you do the same, regardless of the challenge?
Adversity + Consistency = Resilience
There are a lot of things in this world, especially right now, that we simply can’t control. Adversity is sometimes one of those things yet it is an inevitable part of the human experience. We do, however, have control over our ability to train our minds to build resilience, making us more capable to handle life’s hurdles. In order to be resilient, we have to regularly practice behaviors that protect our well-being.
One of my core beliefs is that we need to “ritualize to habitualize”. When aiming for consistency, to build healthy habits and rituals into your day, I believe making them sacred is one key. By sacred, I mean that you follow through on them, no matter what. I often hear things like “I forgot. Now I’m in bed and if I do my push-ups now, I won’t fall asleep”. That happens to all of us! The important thing is to get up and just do 1 push-up. It’s one small step to building the habit.
Another tactic I’ve found successful is habit stacking. Take one conscious healthy habit that you already do and add to it the other small habit you’re looking to build. You can also use this tactic to stop an unhealthy habit – you just replace the unhealthy with the healthy. Linking habits together gives your brain a memory short-cut of sorts. And it makes the time allocation for “another habit” seem more palatable. After all, it’s worth taking just a little more time to build a healthy habit, isn’t it?
Where Do We Go From Here?
In Dr. Nieman’s book, Moving Forward: The Power of Consistent Choices in Everyday Life he talks a lot about this very topic and I pulled these points for you to think about:
- Whatever you are facing in life can be overcome when you allow love to flow freely in your life, for yourself, for others, and for your creator.
- Consistent choices empower us to move into contentment in life.
- Energy flows best when we balance our mental, physical, and spiritual intentions consistently.
- Adversities can teach us life lessons which will then allow us to manifest our purpose more clearly and more consistently.
When we don’t have consistent good energy flowing in our lives, like when we don’t have consistent love flowing in our lives, it’s difficult to face adversity. This means we are stuck trying to learn the same lessons on repeat and that alone makes it so difficult to be consistent. Any one of us could be, and many of us are, stuck in this cycle for our entire lives. Each one of us HAS TO choose, consciously, to show up for ourselves and one another so we have the capacity to stare down life’s adversity and move forward together in the same direction.
One final note: Dr. Nieman often tells patients they need three things for healthy habits to stick: a passion for what they do, a checklist to keep them accountable, and a time when they can eliminate distractions.
Let us know how you’re doing with rituals for resiliency in the comments. Share what rituals have been successful for you AND those that you’re consciously “pivoting” into place to build resilience in your life.