Consistency is the key to long term success
Over the last number of years I’ve been intrigued about what constitutes the best recipe for achievement and success. Having had experience seeing certain individuals that I look after have financial, career or sporting success I wanted to find out the formula for this.
In the last week, having watched a lecture by a renowned sports psychologist and coach Bill Beswick, and listened to a podcast by ex-Navy Seal turned Ultra Athlete David Goggins, it’s been a powerful reminder to me that achieving anything in life is hard. But the new revelation that I took from these two great commentators on mental toughness is that the key to achieving stuff is anything but complicated and in fact it might be really simple.
As a financial planner I’m a strong believer that setting a goal is the first step in getting somewhere. In order to get somewhere you have to be clear and intentional on where it is you plan to go. The next step though is where most of us fall away and this is the simple part, however this next “simple part” is really, really, hard to do.
In order to reach your goal or achieve the desired outcome you have to go about doing something and that something has to be done consistently. The key to this is ongoing discipline to keep doing what you need to do. Whether it’s a financial goal, physical goal or relational goal, there is a constant theme amongst all of them – they all require you to endure, they all require you to do something consistently for an extended period of time.
To achieve success you don’t have to be naturally gifted in the area you want to achieve. Rather what you need is the mental toughness to keep on doing the thing you need to do every day, every month, every year consistently until you achieve the outcome you want.
Albert Einstein summed it up nicely: “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” – Albert Einstein
Reflecting on this in my life I can see that anytime I’ve been rewarded with any degree of success, it usually followed one of the toughest periods of my life. The first five years getting started in business were ridiculous years where I constantly felt like we had no money and no time for family, but sticking to this the business broke through into a successful period. In 2016 I had my best year as a cyclist yet, as a 35 year old I was racing with A grade riders that were 10 years younger, bizarrely that year was also physically one of the hardest. I was hit by a car while riding which put me out for a month, I had another bike accident and partially ruptured my AC – out again for a number of weeks, but each time I was knocked off I consistently got back into routine, got back to training and the hard work of being consistent paid off.
This same consistency is also crucial in our finances. Saving for the future is hard. Managing expenses well is not a thing you can do once, you have to do it consistently, year in year out. Your investment plans are going to encounter tough times, markets are going to have volatile periods and life is going to throw you financial curve balls. However if you want to succeed financially, it will ultimately come down whether you are consistent.