When you are first getting started on your personal growth journey, the first step I encourage is creating positive habits. After you establish these habits, then it’s time to implement the idea of consistency over intensity.
Back in episode 12, we talked about the Daily 5 – 5 top habits that busy moms need. When I first got started with building my Daily 5 habits, I struggled with consistency. Some days I would rock it, other days I’d get a big fat 0 for the day. That’s when I learned about the idea of consistency over intensity.
So what does consistency over intensity even mean? This idea was first introduced to me by Darren Hardy in his book, The Compound Effect. In the book, Hardy talks about how it’s more important that you do a small move every day, rather than a huge move once in awhile. He talked about how if an airplane course corrects just an inch per hour, it can land in a drastically different location. Small changes add up. Consistency, over intensity.
First, I applied this idea to my workouts. I even wrote “Consistency over Intensity” in the notebook next to my bed where I tracked my habits as a reminder. It was the perfect reminder that every workout didn’t have to be intense to count. Small changes add up. Consistency matters. Consistency leads to change. Talk about inspiration!
On the surface, consistency over intensity makes sense. It’s simple, straightforward and seemingly easy to apply. But is it? Let’s talk through how you would use this principle to start a new habit.
Imagine you want to start a flossing habit. Every six months, you lie to your dentist about how often you floss. Now it’s time to install this habit once and for all. According to Stephen Guise in his book, Mini Habits, you need to break this habit down to it’s smallest component. Guise calls it breaking it down “stupid small”. So for flossing, instead of saying I will floss my whole mouth twice a day, every day, make it smaller. Stupid small. Your goal: to floss one tooth a day. Yes, that’s right. One tooth, once a day.
Think about this for a second. Are you seriously only going to floss ONE tooth? Probably not. Chances are, once the floss is out, you’ll find yourself flossing two, three, or heck, maybe ALL of your teeth. But what do you HAVE to do? Only one.
Whenever I am trying to get consistent with something new, I am sure to track it in my MAP Book system. I love being able to check something off, so this system just works for me!
Maybe you’re already an expert flosser, let’s look at another example. Let’s say you want to read more. What could be a stupid small habit that you could use to get consistent? How about you read one page a day. That’s it. One page. I can imagine a night where you turn off your bedside lamp and say “Shoot, I forgot to read.” With such a stupid small habit, it would be so easy to turn the light on, read your page, then call it a night.
Another person with the same goal may say, I’m going to read 10 pages a night. Is that person going to turn the light back on to do that? Probably not.
In The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy introduced the idea of a habit tracker. This simple chart allows you to identify the key habits that you want to get consistent with. Each night, you simply check off what you did for the day and you can see your progress over the course of a week.
If you follow the idea of consistency over intensity, these habits will all be SMALL habits that you can get consistent with: read 1 page, floss 1 tooth, do 1 sit up, call 1 potential client. Realistically, you’ll probably do more, but the consistency is what is going to drive the habit. How cool is that?
Now, one word of warning though. I strongly suggest not trying to start too many new habits at once. Realistically, that’s going to backfire. It would be way better to layer them slowly. Start Week One with flossing one tooth. Then Week 2, floss one tooth and read one page. You get the idea. You’re way more likely to be successful when you layer habits and also, when you track them. These are both important parts of the process that shouldn’t be discounted!
If I asked most moms what habit they would like to get consistent with, I can bet you they would all say working out. How can you use the idea of consistency over intensity to make that happen?
Here are some ideas:
In your MAP Book, create a list of all of your current habits – the good, the bad and the ugly. I like to label mine with a + for a positive habit and a – for a negative habit. Then go through and create a second list of habits that you would like to possess: read daily, floss your teeth, eat a salad every day.
Now, take 2-3 of these habits and create a plan to get consistent with them every day. Maybe this week, you’ll read 1 page a day. Next week, you’ll read 1 page a day and floss 1 tooth a day. By the third week, you’ll read 1 page a day, floss 1 tooth a day and eat 3 carrots a day.
Boom, progress! Consistency over intensity, mama. The progression will happen, you just have to lay the foundation.
If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe on Spotify or YouTube so you don’t miss next week’s episode: Episode 15: How To Stop Overthinking in 60 Seconds a Day. As a chronic over-thinker, this episode (and book!) was a game changer for me.
Next, if you want to connect between episodes, be sure to give me a follow over on Instagram – @sharonlegercoaching. On my stories this week, I am going to be sharing with you my running journey and how I use the idea of consistency over intensity to tackle running.
Finally, be sure to subscribe to my email list to get weekly personal growth delivered right to your inbox – and because I know you’re busy mama, I promise it will include a meaningful action step that will take you 2 minutes or less to implement!
Thank you so much for being here, mama! Get back to doing your thing, rocking your world and remember – keep growing! Little eyes are watching.
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And finally, you can also check out these related episodes that I think you’ll be obsessed with: