How to be consistent and why it’s so hard

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A reader asked me how to be consistent and why it is so hard. Consistent in our creative work, our writing practice, in building our businesses, taking care of our health, staying in relationship with friends and family, or in our spiritual practice.

She asked me BEFORE the pandemic which at first made me think answering her would be pointless but as this madness drags on, I find many of us, myself included, are wanting consistency of some kind.

Friend, we must flip the question. We need to ask:

When isn’t it hard to be consistent?

When we feel safe. (Which is hard for many of us right now.)

When we are surrounded by effective support systems like decent work, decent health insurance and care, decent housing, decent air and water quality, in-person connection and community, etc.

When we have basic, healthy boundaries in place. (Difficult when your home is bursting with people who don’t usually live there.)

When we are doing things we genuinely care about or that we know support us in doing what we genuinely care about.

When we remember nobody need give us permission and there aren’t any rules.When we see the impossible standards of modern life for what they are — a major distraction and energy drain — and, instead, embrace our human-scaled life.

When we keep asking ourselves, “What do I want to be consistent about and why?”

When we have mercy on ourselves and others.

When we always begin again, but only on what we value.

When we understand that the pandemic can drain a ton of our attention and empathy, leaving us friable and jumpy.

When we understand that the pandemic can drain a ton of our attention and empathy, leaving us friable and jumpy.

But people always want to know how to be consistent. They ask me so often, “How can I maintain a regular writing practice?” In return, I always ask them, “Why do you want one?” 

Consistency for consistency’s sake can become a false god that demands endless sacrifices of your time and life’s energy for no good reason.

Consistency to ground  you and help you create more of a life that sings with your signature themes and desires, and health and well-being? That’s the good kind.

The world is full of noisy advice and bossy shoulds about how to live your “best” life. How the heck would anyone else know that but you?

You may think you want to know how to be consistent, but —

For the sake of what will you be consistent?

Is that consistency possible given your current life and the pandemic? Probably yes but maybe not like before. Can you be open to change?

If it isn’t, what needs to change? Your demands on yourself? Your boundaries? Your support systems?

To your life, lived the only way it can be–by you. No forcing, no holding back.

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Elaine - November 14, 2020

Jen I am aware that consistency is the only thing that brings the results you care about. But knowing this, for some reason doesn’t make it any easier.

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