You all know that old saying, “consistency is key”. And it makes sense right. Any thing you do consistently tends to pay off. Exercise, healthy eating, posting regularly to social media…
You get the idea!
BUT…doing things consistently is HARD!
I KNOW that to increase awareness of my brand and grow my audience I need to blog consistently. But it is hard.
I KNOW that to lose that baby weight I’ve been trying to shift for almost 5 years that I need to eat less chocolate and exercise more. But it is hard.
Maintaining consistency is a constant battle with that little devil in your head telling you that it isn’t worth it, you should eat the chocolate. It’s telling you it isn’t worth it getting up at 5am to meditate because you’d be better off getting some extra sleep. And it’s telling you that it isn’t worth it writing blog posts every week, because who reads them anyway.
I don’t mind betting that I’m not alone in this. Am I right?
Are you trying to make progress with your business, but things just aren’t going to plan? Do you have revenue or audience building goals that you wanted to achieve last week, last month or last year and you’re just not getting them?
Chances are that a big reason why you’re not getting there is because you’re lacking consistency in your implementation.
Now, I’m not here to criticise you for this. Not AT ALL!
I’m telling you this because I struggle to be consistent ALL the time, and I wanted to share with you some of the reasons why I think we struggle and the strategies that I have been implementing to get on top of this.
We don’t have a strong enough “why”
One of the reasons why we struggle to achieve consistency in the things we know you should be doing is that we don’t have a strong enough “why”.
I’m going to assume here that you are familiar with Simon Sinek’s talk all about, what your “why” is (if not, you should watch the TED Talk on this topic). But essentially, your “why” is the reason why you do what you do.
Your “why” makes you want to get up in the morning. It makes you want to do ALL the things. It is usually the reason why many super successful people have achieved big things. They know their why, and it is the driving force for everything they do. Some people have big whys like curing a disease, or feeding the hungry, but your why can also be as simple as providing your own family with a nice home or earning enough money to live the kind of life you want to lead. You will probably have an idea almost straight away about what your why is.
When I started the journey towards creating a work from home income my “why” was to earn enough money that I didn’t have to go back to work as a lawyer. I started a product-based business to try and achieve that why, but what I realised after a while was that my “why” wasn’t a good reason for people to want buy my products and it also wasn’t enough to make me want to keep pushing those products. What this experience taught me though was that I had a really strong “why” around earning from home, and a strong sense of determination to figure out how to do this. Then once I did figure out how to do this, I realised I needed to share this message. Another strong “why”.
So, if you are struggling to get started watch the TED talk and give some thought to what your “why” is.
We aren’t seeing results fast enough
One of the things that can make maintaining consistency really tricky is when we aren’t getting results.
Many of you will have experienced that feeling. You’ve worked really hard to try and achieve a particular result. You might have been blogging every day for weeks and not seeing increased traffic, maybe you’ve been posting consistently on your Facebook page and are still struggling to get interaction, or maybe you’ve been on the treadmill and the scales just aren’t going in the right direction!
I have been there so many times. It is so discouraging, and it is so easy to want to give up.
But what I’ve learned over time is that you have just got to keep going. And you have to keep measuring your progress, however slow it might be. The important thing is that you are getting some results that are taking you in the direction you want to go. Celebrate these wins.
We haven’t yet created a habit
Have you ever noticed that when you do something often enough it becomes like second nature? Brushing your teeth for example. You don’t really need to think about it. It is just something that you do.
One of the ways to achieve consistent results is to keep applying yourself until the thing you need to do becomes a habit. This isn’t easy, especially when you might not initially be seeing the results you want to see, but usually if you are doing the right things then you will slowly start to see an improvement.
Neuropsychologist Dr Shannon Irvine from the Epic Success Academy suggests that it takes approximately 60 days for a habit to be formed (https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/dr-shannon-irvine/epic-success-with-dr-shannon-irvine/e/64481055). Once the habit is formed that “hard” thing becomes more natural, and you’re more likely to do it. I’d like to note here, that there is a lot of commentary that says that it takes around 21 days for a habit to be formed, but more recent research supports Dr Shannon’s view that habit formation takes 60-90 days (see for example https://jamesclear.com/new-habit)
If you’ve been doing the thing consistently for more than 60 days and you’re still not making ANY progress (remember slow progress is progress) then maybe you need to think about whether the things you are doing are the right things. For example, maybe you’re trying to lose weight and it’s just not working; perhaps you’re doing the wrong diet for your body type and you should talk to someone about what the right choices are for you. Maybe you’re trying to build an email list, but no one is downloading your free eBook; maybe you should write a new one and split test it to see if your audience prefers something different. It could be that you need a little tweak in your strategy and then you’ll be back on track.
Don’t stop just because you aren’t immediately getting where you wanted to go.
We’re trying to go it alone
Sometimes it can feel like you are all alone when you start your own business. Often you are working from home, behind a computer screen and not communicating with other humans about your business very regularly, if at all.
When you’re doing this, you can struggle to make progress, particularly if you just don’t know what to do next and you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the choices (this used to be me BIG time).
One of the things that has helped me to make progress with The Freelance Mama is finding a network of other mums in business that provide me with support.
Initially, I had one particular friend who also had her own business who encouraged me to start The Freelance Mama, then gave me a few pushes to get the momentum going.
Later I joined a coaching community online and started to get some really great support from the ladies in there. This helped me to gain some traction, especially as I got to see all of the things the other ladies were achieving and felt a sense of motivation to do more myself. I was also able to share my ideas with these ladies and get feedback from people who understood what I was trying to achieve.
Now some of the relationships in this group (and other groups) have grown into friendships, and we meet in person to collaborate and help each other move forward with our business goals. It’s these meetings that have really helped me to fast track my progress, as I have other people that make sure I do what I say I’m going to do.
Plus, if I don’t do it then I have to shout the coffee at the next catch up!!
So, if you are a mama that is struggling with consistency then know you are not alone. Maintaining consistency can be hard, but there are things you can do it make it easier! And after a while you might even find you create some really great (maybe life-long) habits that will get you results!
Onwards and upwards, Mama! You’ve got this!