Imagine you are gearing up for a big game. In the week leading up to the game, what does your schedule look like? Chances are you have a consistent routine down. You go to bed at a decent hour, get up, eat a good breakfast and get to practice or your workout to get ready. Routine is key for athletes to perform at their physical best. This level of consistency is an important skill outside of athletics as well.
That big game turns into a big interview, or a big presentation for your supervisors at work. Or maybe it’s a big moment in your personal life. Consistency is key to achieving the goals you lay out. So how can we create consistency in our everyday lives? By creating healthy habits and routines.
Creating healthy routines are easier said than done, but they can add a sense of control and consistency to your life. Going to bed around the same time every night, getting up around the same time each morning and knowing what your day will look like can help make sense of what needs to get done. It’s important to block out times for breaks, like meals, family time, or a work out. Time management is another skill you can use from your athlete arsenal. Being able to balance multiple responsibilities is something that you have done before and can continue to do.
But what good is a routine if you don’t stick to it? Let’s say you plan to go to bed at 10pm every night and get up around 6am to get a workout in before you eat breakfast and get ready for your day. But when you start to implement that routine, you stay up until 11pm most nights and don’t get up until 7:30am several days.
The key is to be flexible. If you say you’ll go to bed by 10pm but you find you are always staying up until 11pm despite your best intentions, then change your routine to factor that in. Don’t fight yourself! Forgive yourself and work within your needs. Your routine will probably look a little different from your roommate's or your significant other’s routine and that is normal. You need to create the routine that works for you and adapt from there!
Another key to creating consistency in your life is to start small. Let’s use an example in your workouts. If you haven’t been going for runs at all, don’t start off running 5 miles on your morning run. Start off with 2 miles and see how you feel. You don’t want to make the task so impossible or dread it so much that skipping it regularly becomes easier. Do that 10 min workout every morning to get into the rhythm and then add time from there. Do one yoga class on Saturday mornings when you have the time and then add additional yoga time from there. Get those small wins under your belt, and start to grow confidence and control from there.
The power of consistency is shown in what it can create. How did you become so talented in your sport? Did you jump right into high level play and figure it out on the fly? Of course not. You started small. You joined a team when you were younger, you went to practice a couple times a week and you played in the weekly games. Then you added on from there, and as the teams you played for got more and more competitive, your routine changed to accommodate the extra time you needed to get better outside of practice. You were consistently working towards your goal.
The same thing happens in life. You aren’t going to start out at the top of the ladder. You have to start small, start at the beginning and build from there. With your skill set, the first few steps may go faster than others. And that’s great! But if you skip the fundamentals altogether, you will falter when it starts to really get competitive. Be consistent in your habits and you will start to realize that you have been growing stronger and more competitive over time in your job, in your health and fitness, and whatever other goals you’ve laid out to accomplish.