One of the coolest ideas I was reminded of today was that of “consistency over intensity.”
Dan Millman, in his book “Peaceful Way of the Warrior” says “It’s MUCH better to show up at the gym regularly for a basic workout than go off for a couple of hours every other week. It’s MUCH better to do something for a little bit every day than a lot once in a while. It’s better to meditate for a few minutes a day than for an hour once a week. It’s better to move for fifteen minutes (or five!) a day than it is to train hard for a couple hours once a week.”
Reminds me of a good childhood friend who enjoys a successful career in law. Francis is highly regarded by his contemporaries for his professionalism, ethics and aptitude. What I appreciate most about him is his love of life and people, a great sense of humour and his never-ending quest for learning and giving life a go. Each year, he sets aside several vacation weeks exploring the universe and pushing his physical limits – climbing some of the toughest mountains, checking out volcanoes, diving the depths of the ocean.
I asked him how he managed the physical, mental, spiritual and logistical preparations of his adventures amid a highly demanding work schedule. He attributes it to two things – firstly, knowing and living your priorities in life and secondly, taking regular, consistent action. He has never “crammed” his training – instead, focusing on daily, consistent conditioning that has him in a peak state of physical fitness. Like most others, he finds it hard to allocate two hours three times weekly to training. He is, however, able to commit daily to a 15-minute cardio workout. On days when he’s not been able to slip this in during the course of his day, he’d do the 15-minute stairwell climb up the fourteen floors to the apartment he used to live in (he now lives in a grand mansion). Daily, he sets aside 10 minutes every morning preparing and consuming a healthy cocktail of vegetable juices, meditates, reads something that enlightens him and in the process keeps his body, mind and spirit in tip-top condition.
So, what is something you can commit to doing consistently every day or week that in the medium to long term will take your success and fulfillment to another level? What is that seemingly huge goal you have been procrastinating about that through small, consistent bite-sized chunks will enable you to conquer? Perhaps it’s exercise, reading or learning, spending time with a loved one, taking time out to acknowledge individuals in your team, prayer, meditation, writing, putting aside money into a savings program, eating well or just cutting down on non-constructive vices.
Here are several tips to effectively applying this principle of “consistency over intensity” into your life:
- Start off with just one commitment or goal.
- Write this goal down in SMART terms – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-bound.
- Imagine having already achieved the outcome – reflect on the benefits you and others around you will stand to realise as a result of this achievement.
- Break the goal down into bite-sized pieces – what action(s) do you need to take on a daily or weekly basis that will enable you to reach the goal?
- Plan to reward yourself (even if only in a small way) every time you’ve followed through on this.
- Share this goal with someone who you trust to be supportive and encouraging.
- If it’s possible, find a partner who’s also interested in achieving a similar goal to work with you so you can be mutually supportive, encouraging and hold each other accountable for following through.
Love to hear from you how you go with this. Remember the words of Tony Robbins – “it’s in the moments of your decisions that your destiny is shaped.”
Make this the most outstanding day you deserve!