Consistency is key.
I know it's a cliche. But for me at least, it's really true.
If I show up every day for a long enough period of time I always get results. It's the one thing that's never failed.
Yet at the same time, I find it's incredibly hard to do beyond a certain point.
My Last Consistency Experiment
2019 was the year that I challenged myself to be more consistent. And for 6 months I was the most productive I've ever been.
I kept a daily log of every habit that I did for 6 months.
Here's what I achieved in that 6 month period:-
- I read 23 books and took notes on all of them
- I did 1607 minutes of meditation (almost 27 hours) using the Waking Up app from Sam Harris (recommended).
- I completed 163 deep work sessions of productive work
- I took 140 cold showers (I still don't like them..)
- I undertook 54 gym/exercise sessions
- Completed 180 daily writing exercises
- Drank 160 healthy green shakes
- Finished 90 sessions of practice/competitions at billiards (my main sport at this time) and managed to win quite a prominent competition in my city
- Completed a financial review at the end of every month to track finances
Needless to say, I was extremely productive during this period.
So What Happened?
The wheels came off.
I was so regimented for so long that towards the end of the 6 month period I started asking some existential questions...
- Do I want the rest of my life to be like this?
- What's the point of all this?
I'd basically had enough.
I took a few days off....or at least what I thought would be a few days off. It turned into a few months.
I ended up dropping a few of my more positive habits and became less productive. I'd find myself spending more and more time watching random crap on YouTube, lazing around and just generally not achieving as much.
It's Time for Another Run...
Amongst other things (like falling apples), Albert taught us that doing the same thing over and over again is pretty stupid.
So what am I going to do differently this time to make sure I don't end up living so regimented that I start questioning the point of life?
My hypothesis is that it comes down to a question of balance.
Last time, I just took it too far. I just kept trying to push a bit harder each week until I reached breaking point.
I was stacking new habits, reading up to 4 hours per day, spending every minute being productive and feeling guilty if I couldn't muster the willpower to do so, training harder than ever and just putting a lot of pressure on adding green cells to my daily habit log!
It felt great to be creating so much value and doing so many positive things. But it was exhausting. Things got too much and I capitulated like the price of Bitcoin in 2018.
Ironically, I always try to tell people I work with: "don't burn yourself out".
You won't realize it until it's too late. And just like over exerting yourself physically such that you pick up an injury, it will take longer to recover from.
You have to catch it early and course correct or you'll fall off the bandwagon.
Perhaps I should heed my own advice?
I'm gonna have another crack at this consistency thing.
This time I'm going to try not to push it too far...even when I feel like it. You can't sprint in a marathon race.
Let's see if my hypothesis is correct.
To my fans (all two of you)...
...I'll keep you updated along the way.
Or I won't, in which case you'll know I've dropped the ball again.