About 5 weeks ago, I decided to start running.
Thing is, I’ve always been a bad runner. Ever since I was a little kid, the other kids in school would tease me for my running style. Due to that traumatic childhood experience, and 30 plus years of pure laziness, suffice to say I hadn’t run in a while.
When I got onto the treadmill a month or so ago, I was exhausted after running about 0.8 miles.
Due to this embarrassing inability, I decided to set a new goal. I planned to run 1 mile every day, 5 days a week. As a prompt, I wrote it on my to do list to tick off each day, alongside my other tasks.
Day 1 went ok. Day 2 was a little rougher. 3 days in, I was already hating myself and this new goal.
But I kept going. I kept putting on my running shoes every afternoon and running one mile.
Then, something interesting happened.
After about week, I noticed I wasn’t as puffed at the 1 Mile mark. So I kept going until I reached 1.5 miles.
Another week later, and I was able to manage 2 miles. By the end of the month, I was hitting 3 miles pretty consistently.
Then last week I suddenly had a new found stamina burst and managed to complete a couple of 5-mile runs to finish off the month. (Here’s my exercise tracker in case you don’t believe me.)
The lesson here for me is that if I tried to run 5 miles once a week, I couldn’t have done it. But due to running just 1 mile for 5 days in a row, I was soon able to run 3 miles comfortably.
What I learned (or maybe re-learned) was that consistency is the fastest way to improve.
In the world we live in today, it is very easy to try to look for short cuts, life hacks or tweaks that will make it easier to ‘get good’ faster. Sure, sometimes you find something that works, but very often you don’t.
It’s usually faster to just do something every day, slowly and surely.
However, I think this habit of just being slow and consistent is not very interesting or appealing to most people. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking there must be a faster way. It’s also a great way to make excuses and let yourself off the hook.
Trying to hack your way to faster success is a false economy. The truth is your consistency sets the pace at which you will improve.
Whatever you want to be better at, do it ‘on the daily’ and you’ll see a surprisingly fast improvement.
Before you know it, you’ll be well ahead of anyone trying to hack their way to the top.