Consistency is a Muscle
Written by Kirsten Ahrendt
In CrossFit methodology, there is a core tenet of “mechanics – consistency – intensity”, as it relates to execution of movement. First one must perform a movement soundly, then be able to perform it consistently well, before adding intensity to its execution.
But consistency is not just for movement; It is for life. And it is something you can train, just like squats and your VO2 max. When I was young, I thought that talent would bring me success or happiness. I have learned that while talent is helpful, it is consistency that has the strongest correlation to success.
The funny thing is, I don’t fancy myself incredibly well-endowed in the habit of consistency. Which is scary to admit as a coach. Mostly because clients may not realize that coaches are humans too. We’re often perceived as having already mastered so many of the pitfalls our clients experience. When in reality, we experience the same struggles. Same injuries. Similar obstacles and self-defeating behaviors. We too love pizza and drink whiskey, and work too hard and have poor work-life balance. (Shhhh don’t tell the other coaches I told you this!) We have weaknesses and strengths. We are like you, our clients. We are human. We are using the same tools on ourselves that we suggest to you, in order to make ourselves a little bit better.
So a while back, I set out with a very specific goal of strengthening my consistency muscle. I decided to take an ice bath or cold shower daily for a total of 90+ days. I am currently on day 75.
This was a personal experiment for myself. N = 1, you know? Even though I convinced 15 other folks in my tribe to set a consistency goal themselves for 60 days!
I set upon this journey for the following reasons:
- Excluding my sports career in my 20’s, I’ve never done anything intentionally for that length of time (one time I did Whole30. That’s where my record stands).
- I was curious as to what I would learn about myself in the process. Not just the cold exposure. But the practice of doing something (anything!) for 90-days in a row.
- I was yearning for a way to add some minute element of simple structure to the remaining 3 months of a chaotic year.
- I wanted to strengthen my “Consistency muscle”.
I’ll leave you with this realization I’ve had so far:
Consistency is magic.
It is the least sexy, least glamorous muscle on our body. And it might just be one of the hardest to train. But anything worth accomplishing cannot be done without it. Sometimes you have to isolate it – and strengthen the skill itself. Like picking a simple task to complete daily for a long period of time. I call this the “grunt work” of consistency. Nothing technical here. Just accomplish the task. Like farmer carries or sled pulls.
Other times, consistency has to be applied in a progressive manner towards a specific goal you want. At that point, it’s not necessarily about doing the same thing every day, but rather consistently practicing behavior in alignment with a goal over a long duration of time.
I urge you to evaluate your own consistency muscle. Is it strong in some areas of your life and weak in others? Why might that be? Where in your life could consistent action help you to achieve something? You might be surprised as to where consistency can be applicable…it’s not just in physical training. It’s the bedrock of any habit or successful achievement. Maybe it’s not the action we take itself that is important…but rather the consistency with which we perform it.
Want to talk about consistency in your life, gym, or work? Drop a comment! It will give me a dopamine hit and I’ll be eternally grateful. Surprised that I have a million-and-one weaknesses? Come #sociallydistanced over and I’ll make you a whiskey and we can discuss how weaknesses are also strengths.
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