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A Key to Success: Be Consistent

Over the years I heard the best way to learn something is to to teach it. Well, this week's topic, practicing consistent behavior, is definitely something I need to learn and practice more effectively.

When I made the commitment to refocus my energies on writing again, I had the best intentions. I planned to have a new column for distribution every Tuesday morning. Early morning. Which meant the actual column needed to be written by Monday night.

I spent a great deal of time considering how often to publish this column and I thought a weekly deadline was doable. I wrote the first two columns in an afternoon and actually had three weeks before the next column would be due.

"Plenty of time!" I thought.

The days went by and so did the first week. I promised myself that I'd write this week's column the next week. But each day something came up that required my time and attention. I wish I could tell you it was something that truly had a higher priority than this personal and professional goal I had set for myself, but I can't.

Solitaire and e-mail were the two big time stealers. Yikes! It hurts to admit it to myself, never mind share that truth with you. But there it is.

I was defeating my business and personal goals by wiling away the hours playing solitaire and checking my e-mail.

Monday, the day of my deadline, arrived and I tried to get focused. I had worked the night before and slept until noontime. I had signed up for a teleclass that lasted from 12:30 until 3 p.m. I had another conference call at 4 p.m. I had promised to take my daughter to a musical performance at 7 p.m.

We arrived home at 9 p.m. and while I wanted to get this article written, I was too tired to focus on anything except my bed.

"No problem," I told myself. "I'll write a column tomorrow. I can still get it sent out on Tuesday."

But Tuesday morning I was meeting an associate for a breakfast meeting. I ran a few personal errands and got home around noontime. I needed to tidy up some coaching loose ends and knew that once I finished those I could concentrate on writing.

I did those things, and was feeling better.

"Ah..." I thought. "I'll just play one game of solitaire before getting down to business. This will be my reward for all that I accomplished today."

An hour later my son came home from school.

You know where this is going, don't you? You know that this column didn't get written yesterday. You know that I felt terrible because I let myself down.

Looking back over these past three weeks, I can tell you exactly what my downfall was. It was lack of consistent behavior. Or even more accurately, you could say it was consistent poor behavior.

I made the wrong choices over and over again. And because I did that my goal to have this column written for Monday night didn't get met. I also didn't take advantage of writing columns for the future so that I would always be several columns ahead.

This week look at your life and your goals. What do you want to accomplish? What actions are you taking on a regular basis to support or defeat your chances for success? What can you do to change your focus or establish your priorities so that you can provide the time, energy, and resources to consistently do what you need to do?

Playing solitaire is fun, relaxing, and let's my mind go totally blank. I have vegged out in front of my computer for hours at a time playing this game. Some days that is okay. Some days I want and need to drift away into a mindless activity.

But when I do that too often, when I do that because it is easier than doing what I really want to be doing, I am doing more than wasting a few hours of my time. I am actually undermining my chance for future success. I'm establishing a pattern for dealing with things that may challenge me. I'm telling myself that my desire to write is not important.

Jim Rohn says: "Neglect starts as an infection and spreads, then it erodes your self-value. To stop the spread take action-- discipline yourself to accomplish something."

If you want to achieve something--anything--in your personal or professional life, then do something. And do it consistently.

Copyright 2005. Donna Doyon, Activities Coordinator for Your Virtual Retreat is the author of GLOW: Renew Your Spirit & Release Your Inner Beauty. She offers information, inspiration and encouragement to people who want to say goodbye to self defeating attitudes and behaviors and hello to greater success, healthier relationships and more joyful living. Get inspired at her website:

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