I'm sure you've heard the phrase “the secret of success is consistency” or something similar. And it's very true. Most important results come from sticking with a task.
But what's the secret of consistency?
In my experience, it's success.
That's not a typo..let me explain.
As I'm sure you know, we humans are driven by immediate gratification.
Sure, we like to think we can work diligently towards a long-term goal. But experience (and research) tells us that unless we see results quickly we give up.
So the best way of sticking to something isn't to try to rely on willpower. It's to go with our natural tendencies and figure out a way of harnessing the power of instant gratification.
Michelle Segar's research on behaviour change and weight loss, for example, has shown you're far more likely to get people to exercise regularly if you get them to focus on the immediate high they'll feel rather than trying to persuade them it'll be good for them in the long term.
And I've found it's the same in business.
I've built a reputation in the field of email marketing and I've got results because I email regularly.
But I email regularly because when I first started I got immediate small wins: positive feedback on my emails, and the occasional enquiry and sale.
Those successes motivated me to keep going.
And because I kept going I got better. And I got bigger wins.
So I kept going and getting better and getting more wins.
The lesson in this?
If you want to get results and you know that results come from consistency: pick something to do where you can get fast feedback and quick wins.
Don't plough your time into something where you won't know if it's working for months or years. The reality is that you'll give up long before you see any results.
Whether you call it a flywheel or a virtuous circle – early successes lead to keeping going – which leads to more successes which leads to an unbreakable habit.
Then people notice and tell you that consistency leads to success :)