Acting Consistently

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One of the discussions I have had with some people in AIESEC during the past few weeks with some people have been around acting consistently or at being least aware of inconsistencies in your life. To take a very practical example, a very common inconsistency would be to talk about how you really, really want to quit smoking and how you realize all the adverse health benefits of smoking – but still not taking any practical action to achieve that.

So how do you relate to inconsistencies in your life? A lot of the people here that I have spoke to here talks about being brutally honest about them – probably you simply don’t want to quit smoking and that’s why you haven’t worked for it yet – well then admit that to yourself and realize that “right now I don’t want to quit smoking”. By admitting to your inconsistencies in this way you can not only free yourself from your frustration of not achieving them but also stand more clearly for the choices that you make.

Overall, all the people I spoke to about this shared that they had a higher amount of respect for people who consistently admitted habits and behavior that they realize might be negative or unwanted but that they at this point in time have no motivation or the strength to change.

Sure, sometime you won’t feel that you have the strength or the tools to achieve a consistency between what you think and what you do – and that can be fine, as long as you admit there is an inconsistency and decide to live with it. The key is to be truthful to yourself.

A more consistent approach would to my example would therefor be to admit that fact that “no, I’m not able to quit smoking right now even though I understand all the risks” or “no, I currently don’t want to quit to smoke”.

So, look across your life and your everyday routines, habits & behaviors and try to spot those inconsistencies between what you think and say and how you act. Write them down and think about why this inconsistency is there? Is it because you lack the motivation? Or, maybe that you simply don’t have the energy available right now? Whichever, come to terms with either accepting the inconsistency and taking a conscious choice not to straighten it out – or find the tools to change.

One tool that’s really useful is a 30-day challenge. Commit to something for 30-days and only 30-days. Say that you’re not going to smoke for 30-days, after that you’re free to start again. For each day, keep a tick mark on a flip-chart in your home, in an excel sheet or in your notebook – tick each day that you kept with your 30-day challenge. You’ll see that it’s much easier to simply commit for 30-days than trying to change for your whole life, after 30-days you might just choose to stick with the change.

Having these types of conversations are one big reason why AIESEC’s network is so powerful for me – both at our conferences, in the teams we work with and in the virtual communication we have. Getting input and challenge from a diverse group of people on issues related to your personal development is one of the key driver of my own growth.

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