Consistency is probably one of the most difficult things to achieve, and it's the only way to make magic happen. Consistency means doing the work day in and day out even when your body is screaming "no." Or worse, even when you don’t feel like it.
Have you ever tried to change a habit? Of course, you have!
Remember how difficult it was to keep up with doing something new when something unexpected happened, or you felt overwhelmed? Your new habit was the first thing that got dropped, and you resumed to the old familiar. Or perhaps you fell back into your old habit because your inner voice got the best of you?
Well, allow me to introduce you to your Inner Pig-Dog.
In German, we have characterized that voice. How we came up with a Pig-Dog is a mystery to me, but heck, us Germans have a word for everything so why not also a character for those darned inner voices! For the sake of addressing the Pig-Dog, I will call it by its German language gender article "he."
He is a beast. He feeds off of your fears, doubts and life's challenges. He will stop at nothing. He will make you the Picasso of excuses and the Einstein of reasoning. He will come up with a million reasons for why you can't achieve, start or finish something. He is to blame for your shortcomings, for those failed New Years resolutions, for those skipped workouts, for the half organized closets. He wants you to fail. He wants you to be mediocre. He doesn't care about being better, expanding your horizons and reaching for the stars. He just wants you to be comfortable.
Comfort ensures best chances for survival. It is primal. But if you want to change your habits, be better than yesterday, then you have to get yourself out of that comfort zone. Magic doesn't happen in your comfort zone. I know it, and you know it.
The best chances you have at harnessing your beast is to break down those big goals into tiny little pieces.
The Pig-Dog loves your Big Goals. He feeds off of them. The bigger the goal, the more daunting it can be, and that is when he strikes.
By focusing on breaking down your goals, and thus focusing on the process of training, nailing the basics and the things you can control, you will create consistency. It's like a magical stew; it needs to cook consistently for a long time, for all the flavors to spread and unleash.
So that swim set (insert any dooming task) that you still have to do this afternoon? It may seem insurmountable right now since your body is tired and you hate the pool. But how about breaking down that goal of completing your swim, into just getting to the pool? And maybe swimming 100 yards? Those 100 yards, will probably turn into 500 yards. And you may start feeling looser, happier and better. And before you know it, you are getting your session completed.
There is one thing your Pig-Dog hates, and that is you having a good time. So as you break down your big goal into smaller goals, find pleasure and a sense of accomplishment in all the daily small wins. Find gratitude and pride in all that you do.
But there is more that the Pig-Dog doesn't like. Each of our Pig-Dogs has a unique code to crack. Because the Pig-Dog is a part of you. He shares your DNA. So your job is to listen and understand what he tells you.
What are the specific weaknesses he thrives off?
Learn who your Pig-Dog is and then outplay him.
Cracking your code enables consistent work and focus on the process which in return empower the daily grind necessary to reach your big scary goal. And as time moves forward and you look back, you see your Pig-Dog chained to a pole outside your house, kept at bay, away from your doubts and weaknesses. You are in control here. Figure out a way to find a way to your goal.