If I’m being honest, I don’t usually believe someone will stick to their New Year’s resolutions until they’re still on track in February or March. But most people don’t even make it that far. The second Friday of January has been dubbed Quitter’s Day, because that’s when most people fall off. That’s when most people stop being consistent in pursuit of their goals and end up giving up until next year. A year where, unless they change something, the same thing will happen, repeating the cycle.
Most years, I literally plan around people giving up. I’ll work out through the holiday season and then take a break the first two weeks of the year, when the gym is overcrowded with newbies who have miscellaneous fitness resolutions. The third week of the year? The gym becomes a wasteland, and I’m right back at it.
But if you’re reading this, I don’t want to be able to plan around you giving up. I don’t want anyone to be able to, and not just in the gym either. In school. In your career. In life. So, here’s the secret to making sure that doesn’t happen: stay consistent.
You can’t run a marathon without being consistent
Meeting your long-term goals or New Year’s resolutions, like going to the gym four times a week for the year or saving 20% each paycheck, can be like running a marathon. It’s a long race. A hard race. Which means the deciding factor isn’t how hard or how fast you can go. The deciding factor is how consistent you can be.
Think about it. Olympic sprinters can run 100 meters in under ten seconds with relative ease. But they’re also super tired after. They can’t maintain that speed in back to back to back sprints for 26.2 miles. They’ll burn out. Or, if they don’t want to burn out, they’ll have to take a break after every 100 meters. And altogether, those breaks will end up taking longer than a continuous jog would have. Possibly longer than a leisurely walk would have.
Success in a marathon comes down to how consistent you are. It’s not about moving super fast. It’s about moving continuously, even if that means walking sometimes. A constant stop and go doesn’t end on go, and all that stopping makes it slower than a steady pace. Just ask the tortoise and the hare.
If you want to cross the finish line in a timely manner, you need to keep moving your feet. You need to prioritize staying consistent. Emphasis on the staying.
Remember what kind of race you’re running and remember why you’re running it. Don’t start hot off the blocks just to gas out and quit by the first turn. Grit your teeth, dig deep, and keep going at a consistent, steady pace. Even if it’s a slow one.