One of the common things I hear from people is their desire to be more “consistent” in life. Consistent in exercise, saving money, parenting, relationships, eating healthy and the list goes on.

A lot of us feel that we can do really well in an area for short spurts but lasting consistent behaviors seem to allude us. We start exercise programs but don’t finish them. We begin a savings plan but end up spending the little nest egg at the first good sale. We read yet another parenting book and apply some principles but quickly return to the old habits we wanted to get rid of.  So the question remains of how do we get consistent and stay that way in our lives.

The best advice that I have seen work in people’s lives is to start small.  I like using the example of a measuring ruler. We are not going to go from one inch to twelve inches right away. We are on the little black lines of change. In going slow we will still see change but it won’t feel so overwhelming and therefore we might not throw in the towel as quickly.

Exercise is a great example. I am perfectly ok with someone who doesn’t work out consistently to start out one day a week. But the key is to make that one day happen. Once that is a routine over time, then add another day to the week and wait until that is the norm. Rarely do people go from the couch to the gym 5 days a week and stick with it. Nope. They might keep that up for a week, maybe two, but real soon burnout will happen and the couch has its friend back.

Try small steps of change and you might be surprised that consistency really isn’t as hard to maintain as you once thought. Keep it small and if the desire to overdo it happens, make the corrections and get moving ahead again.