I, like most people, mean to do well, but often my actions are inconsistent with my intentions.
How then do I keep from being inconsistent? I want to accomplish things but even a well-meaning intention often doesn’t get much done, or at least not for long.
Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, says: “The signature of mediocrity is not the inability to change, it’s chronic inconsistency.”
Consistency is a huge problem for most people but for people who excel it seems to be a life fixture. Think of the professional basketball player and how many times he/she has taken a jump shot? Consider the accomplished father or mother of several children who has persistently taken every opportunity to speak and model the values they cherish.
If anyone is excellent at what they do it is because they were intentionally consistent. Coupled with time, the two are powerful together. Though I suspect many people are forced into various kinds of consistency – like work, diaper changing, talking to their spouse or paying the mortgage. We should want to do those things but I am talking about doing things beyond the scope of what must be done. It’s one thing to breath and walk, it is another thing to be alive and healthy.
So how might a person be intentional and consistent so as to avoid scraping by (mediocrity). Here are a few suggestions:
- Know what it is that you want to accomplish (goal). “I want to exercise this year.”
- Know why you want to accomplish it (motivation). The Bible and praying should have a lot to do with both one and two so as to avoid self-dependent, idol-making. “I want more energy and I want to live long enough to raise my children to grow up and live for God’s glory.”
- Take the time to write down what you intend to do (actions steps). I find this clarifies what needs to happen and why it needs to happen. Additionally, if the time has been invested to do this then it probably means your serious about it. “I will run 2 miles three times a week.”
- Invite others to help you by sharing your goals and action steps (accountability). Invite those who will hold you accountable to be honestly confrontational. “Spouse or friend, here are my goals and actions steps. Will you encourage me to act consistently?”
- Review weekly and reorient as needed (follow-through). “I am or I am not doing what I said I would do. I watch too much TV. I need to cut out 90 minutes a week so I can run.”
I don’t think it is a stretch to say that most people are only consistent at being inconsistent. We must plan to act on our good intentions but we must plan to be consistent with what we intend. May God give us each the ability to be intentionally consistent for His glory in whatever we do.