No matter what kind of business you are in, consistency is a key principle that will help you succeed. Most of us are familiar with the lack of consistency, otherwise known as the "yo-yo" principle. You only have to go through one round of the "New Year’s Resolution" game to know what that feels like. Unless you are a very unusual person, finding the motivation to be consistent over a long period of time can be difficult.
In the moment of setting a goal or a resolution, don’t you feel absolutely convinced of your ability to achieve the goal? Or aren’t you at least excited at the prospect of having the goal completed? Most of us are. But then what happens? Life happens. We are asked to work overtime, the kids are sick, the car breaks down – you can fill in the blank from your own life experiences. When we finally recover from the many twists and turns that life throws at us, we realize that hours, days or weeks have passed since we paid any attention to our goals. More importantly, we may end up working so hard at life that we either don’t have the energy to put toward our aims, or we feel justified in "taking a break" and not doing any more work.
Many of us are also faced with the "all or nothing" syndrome. We may hold very high expectations about how much we will accomplish, and if we can’t meet our very high standards, we may decide that it isn’t worth doing at all. In the moment of creating the aim, we are often carried by a very strong desire, which allows us to see very far into a projected future, and imagine all the things we might accomplish. Seeing far, or having a strong vision, is a strong asset – but we have to remember that seeing and doing are two different things. We don’t have to get it all done today.
Studies have shown that it takes 21, 30, or 40 days (depending on which study you read) to break a habit and create a new one in its place. Magically speaking, we say that it takes 30 or 40 days of consistency to gather enough force to manifest a desired outcome. The whole point of consistency is not so that we can triumphantly say that we have had our noses to the grindstone for x number of days, but so that we can gather force.
What does gathering force mean, and why would we need to gather force to succeed in business? Force, in this context, is the energy that we use to transform an idea or concept into a physical manifestation – something that we can touch and hold. The more force we have, the more outcomes we can manifest. With added force, we can also manifest bigger outcomes at a faster rate.
Force is stored within us the same way that money is stored in a bank. We can make deposits, such as when we are consistent or when we think happy thoughts, and we can make withdrawals, such as when we apply our force to creating a physical manifestation or when we get upset and angry. Force comes and goes from our bank account as we move through life.
One of the best ways to gather force, especially regarding our businesses, is to practice consistency. Let’s get down to specifics. Consistency can mean many things to different people, and in this case consistency is as simple as choosing to perform a basic task at the same time every day for at least 40 days. This is called the consistency exercises. For example, I might decide to make a mark on a sheet of paper at 12 noon everyday for 40 days. IF I MISS A DAY OR MISS MY CHOSEN TIME, I MUST START AGAIN AT DAY 1. The key is to keep the task very simple and basic, and to do it consistently. People have chosen to flip a coin, touch their shoulder, say a mantra, sing a song, or pet the cat. The consistent performance of a chosen task at the chosen time over a period of days helps us to gain force. When we miss a day, we lose much but not all of the force we have gained, and must start again.
Although the consistency exercise is deceptively simple in its design, it is in no way easy to accomplish. You are free to use alarm clocks, sticky notes, or any other device required to keep you on track for this exercise. Seem silly? Certainly. But it’s also effective. Consider that you can take the same action on day 1 of the consistency exercise as you do on day 40 and get completely different results. You will manifest results much more quickly and easily on day 40.
Why is this exercise so difficult yet so effective? It’s difficult because we are not raised to be responsible – which means merely "able to respond." In other words, when we give ourselves a command to do something, such as exercise on a daily basis, we are not able to respond by carrying out the command. We aren’t given much practice in our daily lives, since we mostly rely on fear or reprisal, anger, anxiety or other forms of outer motivation. The inner motivation is harder to find. The consistency exercise is effective because it teaches us at a very basic level to be responsible. It forms the building blocks from which we can begin to be more responsible in other areas of our lives.
The first response that many of us have to such an exercise is, "This is too simple! I can’t actually succeed in business using this, can I?" The answer is yes – the consistency exercise can actually help you gain enough force in 40 days to accomplish a lot in business. As a result of using this exercise, many have achieved significant results, ranging from winning major contracts to attracting a host of new clients to increasing revenue by 50%.
This exercise is so simple. What could you lose by trying it? And what do you have to gain?