Three activities I engage the most in are parenting, writing, and running, probably even in that order. Do you know what those activities have in common? Or rather, what does one need to possess so as to be successful in all three of those activities?
I’ll let you think about that for a minute . . .
(It’s not a trick question.)
Okay, time’s up. I’m sure you can a find many suitable responses to my question, but in my opinion, it’s necessary to be consistent in order to be a successful parent, writer, and runner.
I cannot even imagine what chaos would have ensued at our house if we hadn’t established rules and boundaries or set up a routine when the kids were small. We’ve adapted, shifted, and changed those lines (actual bedtimes is a great example), but we’re consistent in having them (that we have a bedtime at all).
With writing, I find that blogging is a consistent way for me to practice the craft. In those busy months when I don’t have as much time to put my fingers to the keyboard, I get rusty. My sentences are more clunky, my mind less free. It takes longer for me to get back into the groove of writing than it would have if I’d just taken the time to sit and write a few minutes each day.
And the same can be said of running. Everyone who has tried to maintain an exercise regimen knows that the best thing to do is to stick to a schedule. Being consistent about running has allowed me to keep it in my life for the last twenty-six years.
Of course, it’s easy to say to yourself, I need to be consistent. What if consistency isn’t a part of your life? How do you fold it in?
Well, I’m no expert, but I’d say to start small and remember that you’re human. Let’s say you want to try to ride your bike more often. Look at your schedule, see what openings you have, and begin with once or twice a week. When you’ve tackled going that often for several weeks, throw in another day. The same can be said for any activity: schedule it in. See how it goes.
But keep in mind that you’ll need to be prepared to make adjustments. With most folks, life can get in the way at times. It’s okay if you don’t get out for that Wednesday bike ride. Do you have time for a ten-minute walk instead? And if not, don’t berate yourself. Make sure to go out at the next scheduled time.
It might take a bit of work and determination to incorporate consistency into your lifestyle, but if the activity is important enough to you, it’s worth the effort. And guess what? You’re worth it, too. (And in the case of parenting, your family is definitely worth it.)
(Originally posted on the blog over at The Plot Sisters site.)