Consistency matters — do something (almost) every day

What are your goals?

Publish a novel (mine)?  Lose some weight?  Find a new job?

What SHOULD your goals be?

That’s a far different question, but I’ll leave it out there.

Regardless of which goal you’d like to pursue, consistency matters.

Four years ago, I woke up in a small hotel room at 5 in the morning.  Slowly getting ready (of course I was drinking Pepsi), I talked with my brother about the day ahead.

We were in Myrtle Beach and about to partake in a marathon.

By which I mean that I was going to walk a half marathon with my Mom and he was going to run a full marathon.  Mark stretched a bit and then leaned against the desk chair.

“Man, I really don’t want to do my situps today.”

“So don’t do them,” I said.

“Well, I only allow myself one day off per year and it’s only February.”

Despite all that was to come that day on the course, I can honestly say that his comment stuck in my brain more than anything else that happened that day.  I recall Stephen King’s comments in his book, “On Writing,” when he was asked about how often he wrote:

I used to tell interviewers that I wrote every day except for Christmas, the Fourth of July, and my birthday.  That was a lie.  I thold them that because if you agree to an interview you have to say something it plays better if it’s something at least half-clever.  Also, I didn’t want to sould like a workaholid dweeb… THe turth is that when I’m writing, I write every day.

Now others will tell you that it pays to take one day off a week or a month (or in my brother’s place, a year).  It gives you something to look forward to.

When I was growing up my mom had a friend who was trying to lose weight but couldn’t because she couldn’t step away from her Rocky Road ice cream. 

She finally made a deal with herself.  Every monday, she’d buy a quart of rocky road and put it in the freezer.  If she walked each day and ate right from Monday through Saturday then on Sunday night, she’d sit down in front of the TV and dig in.  If she didn’t then the ice cream would sit for the next week.  The pounds came off slowly.

Two couples I know are using the Dave Ramsey approach to get out of debt.  One couple has sold a car, moved into a smaller house, taken extra jobs and cut their expenses to next to nothing.  The other couple has cut up their credit cards and made it so they can pay their basic bills with their steady pay.  When they get extra pay, they put it all towards the debt.

Both couples are making tremendous progress because they focus on what they are doing every day.

What do you want your life to look like?

While writing is what most people think of when they think about me, that is actually my number three goal at the moment.  My number two goal is to broaden myself technically in my full time job (more on that later).  My number one goal is to spend quality one on one time reading and talking about the Bible with my son.

My daughter got a lot of one on one time like first-borns do and I think that she got more of a solid Bible instruction from me and Kradan than Logan did simply due to a lack of time.  So while I want to impact all of the members of my family spiritually each day, now is my time to get caught up with Logan in this area.

So the other night while my timer was counting down my ninety minutes of writing, I put it on hold and drug my tired body upstairs and talked with him and read the Bible and explained the things that I’ve learned at the Vineyard and Biola and LGCC.  Last night?  Not so much, but I still managed to pray with him yesterday morning.

And what I see in front of me is that it makes a difference.

Now, #1 changes all the time just as yours will.  For me, I’m trying to do something on several goals every day.

The point is that we have to turn off the TV and turn off facebook and go DO the things that we want to be known for or that will improve our life down the road.

Otherwise, we’ll just be known as that guy who was great at Farmville or Hattrick or fantasy baseball and we’ll wonder whatever happened to all our dreams.


About kentostby
Kent Ostby is a fiction and efficiency writer who is willing to dabble in just about any other phase of writing as well.

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