Change can be hard. No doubt, we’ve all had to make changes in our lives over time. Some seem to take place without much resistance and others are harder to implement. No matter how easy or hard it is to make a particular change, there is always a common denominator in terms of the success rate – consistency. 

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

– Will Durant

Let’s talk about consistency and the impact it has on change and success. It’s all about reps and sets – and this isn’t in relation to a workout necessarily. Reps and sets refer to showing up for yourself regularly and repeatedly. They refer to practicing habits or behaving in the same way to achieve a desired goal or outcome. 

Real change takes time. Whether you’re trying to change your body, change your mind, change your relationships, or even your career, it takes effort, practice and dedication. So, why are some changes so much harder to implement than others? Ultimately, it can come down to how the brain processes that change. 

You might have heard of the term, Neuroplasticity. According to,

It refers to the brain’s ability to adapt. When we learn something new, we create new connections between our neurons. We rewire our brains to adapt to new circumstances. This happens on a daily basis, but it’s also something that we can encourage and stimulate.”

That’s where consistency comes into play. It’s a way to encourage this kind of adaptation. In other words:

Repetition rewires the brain. 

Repetition rewires the brain. 

Repetition rewires the brain. 

Repetition rewires the brain.

Repetition rewires the brain.

Repetition rewires the brain. 

Repetition rewires the brain.

You get the point. 


Think about the daily actions, habits and thought processes you’ve developed over time. It most likely took you years and years to develop these tools and patterns that you naturally gravitate to regularly. It’s going to take time, practice and consistency to change those same behaviours and thoughts. 

Putting in the work to incite real change means showing up for yourself on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It means practicing the actions, the steps, and the systems that you need in order to achieve your desired results. It also means giving yourself grace, having patience with your progress and being willing to persist even when it feels hard. 

Developing consistency can feel a little easier when we focus on taking the steps forward that we know we CAN implement vs what we think we SHOULD implement. That means finding a strategy that works for you, your practical circumstance and your personal preferences. For example, committing to working out 5 times a week at 8am wouldn’t make sense if your schedule doesn’t allow for you to get to the gym that amount of times each week. Or, maybe you aren’t a morning person and 8am just isn’t a time slot that will work for you. 

Oftentimes, we like to dive in head first when it comes to making changes. In The Paradox of Behaviour Change, James Clear writes,

In order for change to last, we must work with the fundamental forces in our lives, not against them. Nearly everything that makes up your daily life has an equilibrium—a natural set point, a normal pace, a typical rhythm. If we reach too far beyond this equilibrium, we will find ourselves being yanked back to the baseline. Thus, the best way to achieve a new level of equilibrium is not with radical change, but through small wins each day. 

This is the great paradox of behaviour change. If you try to change your life all at once, you will quickly find yourself pulled back into the same patterns as before. But if you merely focus on changing your normal day, you will find your life changes naturally as a side effect.”

Tips For Developing Consistency:

  1. Start small – focus on what you have confidence in and know you can follow through with. Example: I know I can spend 5-10 minutes walking after work each day.
  2. Accountability – think through what accountability means for you. How can you hold yourself accountable? An example might be setting a reminder on your phone or journaling. 
  3. Create a routine – find a way to weave any of these actions into your day in a way that naturally fits with your routine. Where will you experience the least resistance? Ex: Would quickly assembling your lunch for that day work best if you do this as part of your morning routine rather than the night before?
  4. Habit bundle – attach a new habit or action step to one that you’re already practicing regularly. An example might be saying affirmations while brushing your teeth. 
  5. Set a short term goal – if you’re someone who’s driven by the feeling of achievement, setting a goal around consistency could be a great way to stay focused and dialed-in. 
  6. Notice the patterns and adjust accordingly – it can be really helpful to take a “weekly inventory” to determine what is working and what isn’t. This inventory can be a critical tool in seeing where the opportunities to adapt and flex are. There might be small tweaks that can be made as a way to change your ability to incorporate a habit. Or maybe a certain action step needs to be shelved for the time being because is simply isn’t working for one reason or another. 


Consistency is a skill to be developed in its own right. Making any type of change requires patience. It requires patience with yourself as you work to develop this skill of repetition. That means being gentle with yourself along the way and finding the ways to adapt and flow with the process.

Change can’t be overnighted. It doesn’t show up in a perfectly wrapped package. It’s not activated by the flip of a switch. Real change takes time. It takes practice. It takes consistency. It takes grit. 

Photo by Milad Fakurian on Unsplash

What Is Neuroplasticity? A Psychologist Explains: PositivePsychology.com

The Paradox of Behavior Change,,the%20same%20patterns%20as%20before.