Here’s a question for you. Is it better to be persistent or consistent? Hmmm, I really hadn’t thought about this before, persistence vs consistency, until I listened to the Clarity on Fire podcast, Episode #375 on Adulting with ADHD with Kristen Carder. Now before you dismiss this because you’re not ADHD, hang on. This applies to all of us.
I know we’ve finally moved away from the hustle culture, at least I hope we have. But, that seems to have been replaced by the notion that we have to be consistent in order to be successful. Well, Kristen Carder calls bulls&!t on that.
I have to admit I’ve totally bought into the consistency mindset especially as a small business owner. Everywhere I look, I’m bombarded with messages saying I have to be consistent to build a business. Consistent marketing, posting, blogging, messaging, emailing, ads on social, the list goes on and on. If you’re an entrepreneur, I’m sure you can relate.
However, it also applies to almost everything we do in life. We need to have consistent eating habits to be healthy or lose weight. A consistent exercise routine to be in shape, a consistent bedtime for proper sleep. We’re constantly given the message that if we do things consistently we’ll be successful. And if we fall off the wagon, we’re a failure.
But, failure is inevitable because life happens. Our kids get sick, then we get sick. We have work deadlines or we go on vacation. Big events happen like getting married or divorced, or having a baby, or moving.
And all the apps we have on our phone reinforce this. My meditation app rewards me by tracking the # of days in a row that I meditate. Great, right? It motivates me to meditate every day. Until I miss a day which always happens and then I have to start over at Day 1. I can’t help but feel disappointed in myself for ruining my streak. I’ve reached a 300 Day streak 1 time and a 3 Day streak 25 times.
Another one is streaks on Snapchat. Let me preface this by saying the only reason I’m on Snapchat is my daughter. It’s our main method of communication. On this app, a streak is when you send a pic to each other once a day. If either of you miss a day, you lose your streaks. My daughter and I are up to over 1000 streaks. In this case, it’s just a fun way for us to keep connected. But, it’s still the same idea of rewarding consistency which is really rewarding the app by keeping us on there every single day.
So, what Kristen Carder argues is that we’re far better off being persistent. If we miss a day going to the gym or working out at home, no worries, start again. Miss a week or even a month, or 6 months in my case, don’t berate yourself, just start again.
We can always start again and again. And we’re never starting over from square one. What we’ve done previously, no matter how long ago, still counts. We’re wiser, more experienced, more in the know than the first time.
I would also argue that being consistent could carry us down the wrong path and hinder our success. But, being persistent by coming back to the drawing board and trying new and different things again and again will eventually get us on the right path.
I suppose, once we’re on the right path, one could then argue that consistency becomes the goal. But, things change. Nothing stays the same forever which requires us to be persistent and try something new rather than continuing to do the same thing.
For me, this is a huge game changer, a relief really. If I miss a day of posting on social, it’s not a failure. My business is not going to suffer, and I’m not a forgetful, lazy, or bad business owner. I’m just going to be persistent and start again. Like I do with my meditation.
Tell me in the comments what you try to do on a consistent basis. And then let me know what you think about shifting your mindset from being consistent to being persistent.
Until next time,
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I love this!! Colleen I agree with what the author has stated. Like you I had been tracking my “consistency” on apps and on social media. To the point that “consistency” was my word for 2020. Well I fell of the wagon a couple times on my reading app and I felt disappointed. It really affected me but I decided quickly to go back and in the back of my mind I assured myself that the past consistency counted. It is so amazing how just flipping the switch on these words can change your mindset.
Thanks for sharing.
Hi Patricia, Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this. I agree, flipping the switch from a consistent mindset to a persistent one can be so liberating!
I think the only thing I’m consistent with these days is taking my medicine and taking my garbage and recycling to the curb.
After being diagnosed with cancer in 2010 I’ve noticed persistence is my goal. I no longer sweat the small stuff.
Giselle, yes, no time to sweat the small stuff. You are the most persistent person I know.