At the beginning of the year, I set a goal to write and post on my blog, Depth Not Width, three times each week. I’ve found that the more I use my writing muscles, the stronger they get and the more comfortable my writing becomes. Part of developing those muscles requires consistency. To do anything well and excel at it over time, you need to put in the time and the work.

So, here I sit on a Saturday afternoon. I have written and posted two articles this week and am one short of my goal. At this point, the sun is out, and it is a beautiful “feels like spring” day in February. I don’t want to be sitting here writing right now. At the same time, I set a goal for myself. So, at this moment, I have a decision to make. Is my goal important enough to me to choose what is hard (investing this time in my writing) over what would be easy (saying two out of three is pretty good and missing my goal for the week)? 

I have written in the past about one of my go-to theories… It is easier to do something 100% of the time than to do something 99%. I don’t recall where I heard this or who originally came up with this concept, but it is true. 100% is challenging but powerful. 99% opens the door to 95%, and then 80%, and so on down the list. 

It’s a slow fade, but the reality is that skipping something once makes it easier to skip twice. 

Six years ago, Cristina and I ran a marathon together. I was easily in the best shape of my life. We were running consistently, following an intentional plan, and consistently eating well to support our training. We did a sixteen-mile training run in the pouring rain to maintain our consistency. The result? On race day, we were prepared and able to finish what was one of the biggest personal challenges I have ever undertaken.

We said we were going to do it. We committed to our goal and the work it would take to achieve it. Then, we showed up and did the work… 100% of the time.

Writing this right now is no different. It is now 7:30 in the evening as I am finishing this. I have just a few hours left in the day to complete this and stay on track. This is me showing up and being consistent. It’s me drawing a line in the sand that says I’ll do the work even when it’s inconvenient and not what I want to be doing. It’s me saying that this is important to me and that my goals matter, even when they’re hard to achieve.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t give ourselves a little grace from time to time. There are times when we need to ease up on ourselves, but those times should be few and far between if we’re committed to reaching our goals. Getting into the habit of inconsistency is a slippery slope that leads us away from our goals, not toward them.

The Takeaway

Ask yourself… Looking at your goals, are you showing up consistently to do the work needed to achieve what you want? Most importantly, when it gets hard or inconvenient, which is your go-to? 100% or 99%?

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