Running has proved to be a powerful teacher. The lessons I’ve learned have not only applied to running, but to every area of my life.
Every morning when I run, I ask God what my goal of that run is, and what He wants to teach me through it. Every run is different. I learn something new every single day, and it has helped me become stronger, more diligent, and more focused.
A few days ago when I headed out the door at 5:30 am, I began asking that same question: ”Father, what is my goal for this run? What do you want to teach me?”
Immediately, I heard, ”Consistency.”
I thought, ”Awesome! I can be consistent! I’m good at consistency!”
Boy, was I wrong!
About a mile into my run, I felt amazing. I was running faster and breathing easier than I had since I started training. I felt so good, in fact, that I decided to pick up the pace. There was a hill coming up, and I wanted to see if I could conquer it at this faster pace.
As I ran faster, smiling to myself, I heard the words, ”Is this sustainable?”
”Of course it is! I can totally do this!”
I kept running.
”Is this sustainable?”
”I’m having fun! I want to run fast! Who cares if I have to walk later?!”
Again, I kept running.
”You asked what your goal is for this run… Remember? CONSISTENCY.”
I knew I had to slow down. At that moment, a new song came on, and it was the PERFECT tempo. I settled back into that pace, which was quite a bit slower. And I can’t tell you how amazing it felt.
I ran at that pace for the duration of the song. When the next song came on, I sped up ever so slightly.
Again, I heard, ”Consistency.”
So, I went back to the song I had just finished listening to, and I listened to it on repeat. I knew I had to keep that pace throughout my entire run, and if that meant listening to the same song over and over again, so be it.
And here’s what I learned about consistency that morning:
- Pride and ego kill consistency.
I wanted to run fast. I felt great in the moment, and I wanted to push myself harder, to run faster, to beat my previous record. My ego wanted all of that.
But my goal was consistency. My goal was sustainability. And when I was confronted with the question of whether or not my faster pace was sustainable, my answer was full of pride! ”Of course it is! I can totally do this!”
When confronted with the question again, my answer changed just a bit. I got a little defensive. It was more along the lines of, ”I’m doing what I want to do! Who cares if it’s not sustainable?!”
My pride was killing my consistency. No, I had not even had a chance to become consistent yet. It was all about ”Push harder, run faster, do better,” without even considering the next 2.5 miles.
Bruce Lee said, ”Long-term consistency trumps short-term intensity.”
Pride and ego keep you focused on how you feel here and now. It does not allow you to think long-term or plan for long-term, sustainable success.
Pride and ego will keep you from being consistent – but without consistency, it is impossible to succeed long-term.
- Consistency is NOT about entertainment.
I listened to the same song over and over and over again during this run. It was a good song, but it got so old and so boring, so fast! (Especially since I had just added a bunch of new songs to my running playlist the night before, and I was excited to listen to them.)
But consistency is not about entertainment.
I think a lot of us expect everything in life to be entertainment. If it’s not fun, we don’t do it. Period, end of story.
But that is a dangerous way to live your life.
Hebrews 12:11 says this: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but grievous, but afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have ben trained by it.”
It doesn’t say, ”Discipline is ALWAYS a blast!!!”
The definition of consistency is: steadfast and unwavering adherence to the same principles, course, form, etc.
It’s easy to get bored with the same principles, course, form, etc. When we do something over and over again, we tend to get bored and change the way we’re doing it. We go faster or slower, change the style or form, add in our own personal flair. We take what’s working and change it.
This is not a running thing… this is a life thing. It happens at work, in business, in finances, in relationships, in our personal lives.
We get bored with consistency, so we change something – but without consistency, it is impossible to succeed long-term.
- Consistency will help you finish strong.
If I had pushed as hard as I wanted to for the first couple of miles that morning, I would have been walking the rest – no doubt about that!
But because I found a pace that worked for me, and I was consistent throughout the entire run, I finished just as strong as I started. I felt better and stronger than any of my previous runs. I was shocked, actually!
I was about a quarter of a mile away from my house, and I began thanking God for this lesson He taught me – about consistency, about sustainability, about endurance, about finishing strong.
You see, at this point the day before, I was so wiped out, I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it back to my house! My legs didn’t want to take one more step. I was sweating like crazy. My breathing was out of control. All I wanted was to sit down in the grass and rest. A quarter of a mile from my house.
But that morning, I was still going strong!
Consistency will carry you to the finish line – but without consistency, it is impossible to succeed long-term.
As I said earlier, this does not just apply to running.
These truths about consistency are true at work, in your relationships, in your finances, in your personal life, in your physical and mental health. These truths will help you become more self-disciplined. They will help you reach your goals, whether they are health goals, work goals, family goals, financial goals, relationship goals, personal goals.
After this run, I began to evaluate my entire life, asking myself a few questions:
- Where can I be MORE consistent?
- In what areas have I allowed pride and ego to kill my consistency?
- What processes, systems, principles, behaviors have I changed out of boredom?
- In what ways have I given up before reaching the “finish line”?
- Have I factored consistency into my plan for achieving my goals? (Evaluate each goal and each plan.)
I found multiple answers for each question, and it has really caused me to focus on consistency in every area of my life. I’ve already seen improvements in some areas, and I’m excited for the improvements I know are coming as a result of becoming more consistent.
I highly encourage you to ask yourself those questions today, and identify your weak spots when it comes to consistency. It may not be comfortable to shine a spotlight on your weaknesses, but it is so beneficial to your long-term success!
Remember, without consistency, it is impossible to succeed long-term!
So, where can YOU be more consistent today?
I’d love to know your thoughts on this topic. Was this helpful for you? Do you have any areas that could use some work in the “consistency” category? Have you enjoyed the benefits of being consistent in anything, whether it’s nutrition, exercise, work, personal self-discipline? I’d love to know! Leave your comments below!
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