If any of you have ever wondered whether sometimes I think of a snappy title and then just work in about 500 words of drivel to support that sentence then wonder no more. This is that post. I’m kidding of course, kind of, but the crux of this blog post is essentially that I, personally, therefore suspect other people as well, can’t seem to do anything consistently at the moment. In fact the only thing I’m consistent with is the fact I’m inconsistent.
Consistency is key, apparently. Which I reckon is simple enough to get onboard with. Habit forming (or breaking), for example takes approximately 21 days, and if anyone has ever tried to make or break a habit, you’ll know that requires a level of consistency. There’s a theory that if there’s a food you don’t like (olives is a common example used in this theory) that if you eat an olive once a day, after 21 days you’ll probably start to like them, or at least, not hate them as much as you did. But you need to eat that olive consistently for 21 for it to work. However I’m not entirely convinced consistency is a key that fits many locks in my life. But I always, always, always beat myself up about the fact that everything I do is inconsistent.
I don’t seem to have consistently successful days at work, I can’t consistently run 5K without having to walk a little bit, I can’t consistently lose weight, and it drives me round the bend sometimes. It’s because I love a routine. I like going to bed and getting up at the same time, I like having pizza on Sunday and wine on a Friday, I like that blog day is a Wednesday and I like weekly catch ups with my team at work.
But, you wanna know what changed my mind and actually started to embrace my inconsistencies? It was a quote I read by Jeff Bezos, who said:
‘People who are right a lot of the time, are people who often change their mind. Consistency of thought is not a particularly positive trait’
And that’s probably where the similarities between me and Jeff Bezos end. That quote really resonated with me though because whilst I’d been beating myself up about how inconsistent I can be, it’s actually, apparently not the unbecoming character trait I was worried I had, it was actually more so of the fact that I change my mind a lot. Take the work example for instance, I’ll have inconsistent productive days because there are often a lot of external factors at play; meetings get put in last minute which means you don’t get to crack on with what you’ve planned, or meetings get cancelled which means you don’t get a decision on something you needed. My priorities often change at the drop of a hat, which will often mean my productivity changes accordingly as well to adapt to the change. That’s just the nature of the work I do.
And as for the exercise and weight issue; I can’t run 5K consistently because of a few external factors as well, the North East weather is so unpredictable you could be trying to run 5K in a snow storm one day and 20 degree heat the next (which feels like running through treacle incidentally). It also came to my mind on a recent particularly painful run, where I was questioning why I was putting myself through it, and I took stock and tried to remember what the end goal was. See, at the beginning of the year, I committed, to no one but myself, that I wanted to run 500 miles in 2021. No other reason that at the start of the year, gyms were closed so I needed some motivation to get out there and have something to work towards. As I trudged up a hill in the rain with a sore knee and hip I questions what I was doing it for? Was this arbitrary goal, that no one else really knew about, worth my happiness? Or was the real goal to have an exercise routine that I enjoy and in turn keeps me fit and healthy? So I now only run twice a week, and have incorporated the gym and swimming into my weekly routine, which has made me much happier.
And I can’t consistently lose weight because as much as I enjoy a 5K run, I also have come to enjoy pizza cones at the Gosforth Hotel and drinking wine with my friends now we’re allowed. So unless I can adopt a Gwyneth Paltrow style macrobiotic vegan lactose free diet, my weight is likely to fluctuate.
Now, I appreciate a few of those things may sound like excuses, and perhaps some of them are, but my point of all of this is: is it really me being inconsistent or is it me changing my mind or is it just resetting and refocussing? I still believe that the only thing I do consistently is be inconsistent, however, thanks to Jeff, I’m not as concerned as I once was that that’s necessarily a bad thing. After all, if Groundhog Day has taught us anything, it’s that if the same thing happens every day, we lose our minds and start causing havoc, so maybe we all need some inconsistency if only for our sanity!