How Consistency Always Prevails
If you’re like most people in the world, stress is a part of your everyday life. You may feel it every now and then, you may feel it the majority of the time. Either way, you experience stress. This is just part of normal life. In some scenarios it is a gift, in others it feels like a curse. This article is going to focus on the negative type of stress and how you can reduce this by focusing on one very simple principle, consistency.
There are a lot of different definitions for the word consistency, for our purposes we are going to think of it in terms of repeatable behaviors done over and over again in similar fashion.
The interesting thing about consistency is that it can lead to both positive and negative outcomes when it comes to stress. Chances are, if you get stressed out a lot, you probably already have consistent behaviors and habits in your life that contribute to your stress. The challenge then is to find out what those behaviors and habits are and switch in different behaviors and habits that are more beneficial to you. Simple, just not always easy. This is where consistency comes in again, on the flipside.
For starters, if you are tired a lot of the time and have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, this could be caused by stress as well as lead to additional stress. So the first place to look at what might be causing this are your existing habits. Are you going to bed too late? Are you drinking caffeine late into the day/night? Are you watching tv or scrolling through your social feeds right up to bedtime? Are you doing work late into the night and then crawling into bed still thinking about what you just worked on? If so, chances are it’s a habit you’ve developed over time. To get in a better place to feel well rested the next day, you’ll need to start and stick with new, better habits.
Perhaps you set a bedtime routine in place that starts at the same time every night. Maybe you limit caffeine to before 2pm everyday. You could cut electronics off one hour before bedtime and wear blue light blockers in the evening while using screens. You could do the same before work.
So you implemented something to help you break your bad habit, and start building new positive habits and behaviors. Awesome! But now what? Now you figure out how to stick with it.
Here are a few tips on how to build up your consistency muscle:
1) Set a Daily Ritual
Daily rituals are great because they boil a big behavior change into a very concrete step. The Find Your Steady candles are designed for this purpose. To be the simple step to start your daily wellness routine. This could also be setting a specific time where you start a nighttime routine or drinking a glass of water and doing a short breathing exercise before you check your phone in the morning. Even taking a deep breath when you wake up each morning and saying “Thank You”.
2) Start Small
“A journey of one thousand miles begins with a single step” ~ Lao Tzu
There is an entire article on this that you can read on the Find Your Steady blog, but it is worth mentioning again when discussing building consistency. Find the smallest, easiest possible way to start building a new behavior or habit.
Want to start exercising? Start with a 10 minute walk each day. Want to feel more rested? Go to bed 10 minutes earlier than you did last week and 10 minutes earlier than that the next. Want to drink more water? Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning.
The point is, starting small gives you the best chance to stick with actually doing the new behavior. Then you can build upon the behavior from there.
3) Celebrate Every Win
This one is really important yet often gets overlooked. Every time you complete the new behavior, celebrate it. Even if it is a little “Yes!” or self high five. What’s really powerful is telling yourself “You did it!”. Oftentimes we’re quick to judge what we do wrong, and forget to celebrate what we did right. No matter how big or small the effort, give yourself props if it was a step in the right direction.
The biggest thing to take away is that any habit or behavior you’re looking to change will take time. A lot of the negative stress you experience can typically be traced back to habits and behaviors you’ve developed over time. Find the simplest way to start switching those habits and behaviors with ones that will benefit you more. Focus on consistency, even if you need to scale back what you’re doing to make sure you stick with it long enough for it to become a habit.
(Image Credit: Pixabay)