Wednesday, January 30th, Day 148, Act Consistently
If you would like to join me in this journey from the beginning, please start with Day One.
Wow! The morning is already gone.
If you would like to know about this morning, see this.
I just finished some Instacart shopping. The more I use it, the more I love Instacart. I am glad we got a membership. Our groceries will be here in two hours or less.
Each time I begin a new day, I wonder what my theme will be. I do not decide that in advance. To see what keywords arise, I analyze each day’s blog entry with a frequency analyzer. I select a possible key word and then pump up its frequency, preferably to 1% or more. That becomes the theme of the blog entry. I try to do something new every day.
I listened to my meditation recording again. Some of that noisy brain chatter has died down, and I feel more relaxed. I have my Big Four (meditation, JV Life Tracker, Cronometer, and blog/journal) underway again for the day.
Not long ago, I had a thousand-plus-item to-do list in JV Life Tracker for every day. It was impossible to get everything done every day. I made a big effort to do as much as I could. Though this may have worked for me as a single person, I have had to focus since I have been married, or I would have no time for the condo or my husband, not to mention this blog. I chose my Big Four because I think those four activities have a big impact on my life. I find that when I am doing all four every day, I become quite happy. Of course, I do other activities as well, but I do not require myself to do them as consistently.
Consistency is one of my top values. Though it is a wonderful aim, it is not possible to be consistent with everything. Choosing what you are going to be consistent with is key. You may wish to consistently do a daily jog in the park. Perhaps you want to be consistently early or on time for work. Maybe your goal is to consistently serve an evening meal for your family, when and where they can all eat together. Your Bible study may be a goal with which you wish to do consistently. A journal entry, detailing your day each day, or at least frequently, may be a goal for you.
There are many possible activities that would yield rewards for consistent effort. If you find you cannot be consistent with a particular goal, perhaps you have too many activities you are trying to do consistently. Another possibility is that the goal you are working on has been chosen for you, and it is not really yours. It could be that you are fabulously consistent with many things, but you wish you could get to another activity, perhaps your writing, that would have more meaning for you, and you never seem to have time to do it.
If you are being extrinsically rewarded for achieving a goal, such as receiving pay or a bonus at work, you likely want to keep the goal. Consider and evaluate the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards versus the effort. If the rewards are not important to you and/or the effort is too great, let the activity go.
You may say, “There are some things I just cannot let go of, or you know what would happen.” In that case, the rewards are just avoiding what could happen if you do not do something. For instance, if you never scrub the bathroom, and no one else is responsible for getting it done, the room can get pretty horrible. Your reward for cleaning it consistently is preventing that. In this case, though the effort is great, it is probably worth doing. However, you may not have to do it every day. Once a week may be more than sufficient.
Conflict can arise when someone else’s goals for you do not match your own. I had this problem often when I was a teenager with my mother. Her values and mine were often in conflict. She wanted a consistently cleaned home, which with a family of fourteen was nigh impossible. I wanted to maintain my 4.0 average in school. I maintained my average through high school. The house sometimes was not up to my mother’s standards.
I felt that my mother did not support my efforts in school, which caused me some internal conflict because I felt my future was on the line. It probably was too because my parents were not well enough off to put me through college. That responsibility was mine, and the scholarships I received really helped.
While at home as a teenager, it was just not possible to be consistent with everything on my plate. It was not that I was lazy or belligerent. Rarely, did I hang out at night with friends. I was conscientious with my church assignments. At work, I did my best to do a good job, though I admit that work sometimes took a back seat to church assignments.
If you have teenagers, and they are loaded with school, work, church, sports, music, hobbies, pets, social and extra-curricular activities, home assignments, and vacation, realize they may be doing all they can. Think about their future, and eschew being judgmental of their choices. I am not saying they should not help out at home, but their consistency may not be up to your standards, and that may be okay. Your priorities and theirs may be at odds, but what they are doing may be important for their future, which they will control more than you.
Look what you have on your own plate. Are you overloaded? Is it costing you in terms of your health?
Brad Krause submitted an article for me to post on this site about self-care, which I think is very appropriate for the theme of Joyful Vibrance. He gave pointers for reducing overload and getting rest and relaxation.
The day is already winding down. My cell phone was on a charger, and I had not rebooted it. I missed one of the Instacart deliveries! Customer Service said they would refund the items, but I have to re-order them.
My husband is watching the news silently. I spent some time on the floor with him this afternoon, but I do not want to be on the floor a lot. It would be nice if I could move my sofa from Utah to here in Colorado, so we can have a sofa to sit on for watching TV.
I lost track of exactly what I ate today. However, I guesstimated it into Cronometer and hope for the best tomorrow.
Today, I spent a lot of time with this blog, even though the number of words is not really high. I spent a lot of time thinking about my subject. I think my theme is going to be ‘consistency,’ even though I have not run a frequency analyzer on this entry yet. [The keyword is actually ‘consistently,’ but ‘consistency’ is close.]
While I was writing my free ebook Joyful Vibrance: Transform Your Body Image, Energy, and Mood, I started wondering if consistency was really the thing. My Higher Power, or God, led me to look at an Internet article about the Coca-Cola company. It was about the corporation’s century-plus-long efforts at consistently promoting their brand. No one can doubt that it has paid off for them. That day I decided to re-instate consistency as one of my top values, even though I fail at being consistent more often than I would care to admit.
The Compound Effect
As I mentioned Sunday, Darren Hardy’s book The Compound Effect shows the gigantic effect of doing one activity daily over an extended period of time. If you save $100 per month rather than going in the hole $100 a month, a difference of only $200, the difference to your finances down the road is incredible. If you burn 100 calories more than you take in versus taking in 100 more calories than you burn, the effect on your body is dramatic some time later.
However, this difference must be consistent for the effect to be realized. The difference even for an arithmetic progression is great. If you do something that is geometrically progressive, the effect cannot even be measured after a time.
Another organization I have been thinking of is National Geographic. Their first magazines were black and white and not even every month. They had textual covers and later changed to photographic covers, in color, every month. The pages gradually got more and more color. National Geographic consistently improved their magazine and consistently kept their signature yellow frame. Most importantly, they consistently published, until National Geographic has become the icon it is today.
So, what will be the effect of consistently keeping a blog for say 25 years? I do not know. I believe I will never know if I do not do it.
Maybe just consistently posting my Joyful Vibrance blog is not going to be enough. What if I consistently improve it each day for the next 25 years? I would like to do that. I just learned how to shut off Location on my Motorola Droid Turbo camera, so I can take pictures without saving location information. Maybe I can start putting photos into my blog entries–like pictures of delicious food.
Walt Disney is one of my heroes. He was also a stickler for consistently improving quality. He was just about ready to release Snow White when the technology for color arrived. Walt Disney insisted that the whole movie be re-done, in color. Where would Snow White be today if it was still in black and white?
W. Edwards Deming
W. Edwards Deming revitalized the Japanese economy by preaching quality. He got the Japanese to consistently make autos with all the parts perfectly uniform. They relentlessly worked for exact uniformity. This consistency put Japan on the economic map back in the last century.
Right now, my husband is lying on the living room floor with the TV turned on, sound off. He seems about half-conscious. I can think of a reason for why he may be sprawled out this way. Perhaps you can too, if you have followed my blog. I tried to interest him in more food and water, getting on the bed, turning on the sound. Anything.
No interest in anything. I came back in here, not wanting to spend a lot of time on the floor with him. He did not beg me to scratch his back this time or even to stay with him at all.
On the Bed
Later, I managed to coax him onto the bed. We exchanged pleasantries. He said, “I love you.” “You are my beautiful woman.”
Later, he went back to the living room floor. I cleaned the kitchen. I discovered that a product I have been using has calories, but its label does not specify any. Food companies do not always have honest labels.
It is past my bedtime. I may have to go to bed alone because my husband seems intent on lying on the floor. What is his fascination is for it? I would think it is the TV, but he has the sound off, and he is not looking at it. He does not want to talk.
I have refrained from calling friends and family about these kinds of things for fear they will talk me out of the marriage. I do not have much social life outside the marriage because I am concerned about leaving my husband alone, and he almost never wants to go anywhere with me.
Tonight, I will spend some time dreaming about solutions to these issues. And I can always pray. I think I will tonight before I retire.
The Compound Effect
I wrote about consistency today. I want to consistently post to this blog, and I want to consistently make this blog better every day. Will You help me develop that kind of consistency? Darren Hardy, in The Compound Effect, promises huge rewards if a single, positive, high-impact activity is accomplished every day over a period of time. He says that you may not always see huge results at first, but then they come.
Lord, You have encouraged me to write, and now I am writing. Help me to write material that is useful to others. I write about real life. Though fantasy may be more appealing to some people, there must be benefits to reading about real life. Help me to capitalize on my strengths and strengthen myself in related areas where I may be weak, if that would help me with my goals.
Lord, I also ask for a blessing on my readers that they may be able to choose high-impact goals that will take them where they want to go. Bless them to achieve those goals and especially pilot them through obstacles they may encounter. I would invite them to read The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holliday for inspiration. Since reading his book, I have not felt the same way about my obstacles.
Lord, you know the obstacles I encountered just getting a marriage license. I was about ready to give up and go back to Utah. I surmounted each obstacle though one-by-one. Now both my husband and I are very grateful we are married.
Lord, will you protect my marriage? I will do the best I can, but people are very divorce-happy these days. I do not want to be infected with the attitudes of others. Help me to protect the investment I have made in my marriage. My circumstances are not easy, but I find my marriage worthwhile. Sometimes it does not seem worth it, but that feeling is always temporary.
There must be some things I could do consistently in my marriage that would pay dividends later on. I will have to think of what those activities might be and put them in JV Life Tracker. Will You inspire me about what to put on that list?