Want to be a writer? Write every day. Want to start a business? Hustle every day. These are common advice for success.
While consistency plays a big role in determining success, it is not enough. In one of my previous articles, I had written, “Doing something every day will make that thing your habit. And not stopping it even after it has become a habit will make it your identity.”
Being consistent can help you become better at learning something. But that is not guaranteed. Why?
Let us take the example of learning to play the piano. On the first day, you start by learning the notes. A few days later, say you learned three chords. You will never become a good piano player if you only play those three chords for the rest of your life. Even if you play them every day, you will not be considered a successful piano player.
Consistency + Improvement = Success
Merely doing something every day does not make you successful. In addition to that, you have to make improvements every day. It does not matter if the improvements are tiny. If you improve just by 1% every day, you can make massive progress in a short time.
Improvement is taking one step at a time. Being consistent can lead you to improvements, but it does not assure you that you will improve. However, in some cases, consistency alone can help you learn and become better at doing something. A simple example is reading a book.
Suppose you read 20 pages every day for 30 minutes. If you do it consistently for a week, for instance, you will automatically be able to read more than 20 pages (say 25) in 30 minutes by the end of the week. It is because you will be able to read quicker if you do it consistently. In this case, the improvement is automatic.
Automatic improvements only occur in a few cases. So it is better to make conscious improvements instead. In the same example, what if you decide to make a conscious improvement and read 21 pages in 30 minutes the next day? If you do so, improvement is certain.
So if you were able to read 25 pages in 30 minutes with automatic improvements, maybe you will be able to read 27 pages in 30 minutes with conscious improvements.
I try to improve my writing every day. I don’t do it just by writing every day. Instead, I do it by reading the work of other writers, learning writing strategies, getting inspired, experiencing new things, generating writing ideas, and so forth. I make sure that I do something every day that makes an impact on my writing.
Make Conscious Improvements
Do not rely only on automatic improvements. As you saw in the previous example, making a conscious improvement helps you progress quicker.
If you know only three chords of a piano, challenge yourself to learn one more chord today. Don’t limit yourself. Making progress and achieving success is a choice. It happens by making a conscious decision and taking action.
Ask yourself, “What can I do today that will make me a little bit better than yesterday?” and then do it. Ask the same question again the next day. Do it every day. That is how you mix consistency with improvement to achieve success. It will help you accomplish your goals faster and lead you to success quicker.
In life, only a few people are going to push you to do your best. If you have somebody to do that, consider yourself lucky. If you don’t have anyone, do it yourself. You need to take responsibility for your life because nobody but you are responsible for what happens to you.
So start taking responsibility and make improvements every day. Push yourself to become better. Don’t wait for inspiration because it does not come that easily. Instead, take action and do something every day that will lead you to success.
Consistency is key. It is the best way to learn and make progress at something. But consistency alone is not enough. You need to make improvements. It doesn’t matter if the improvements are small or big as long as you are making progress.
Do something today that will make you a little bit better than yesterday. Whatever you do, do it better than yesterday. For example, if you work at a job, do your job better than yesterday. If you play the guitar, learn something new—write a new song with chords you haven’t used before.
Whatever it is that you do, you must make progress at it. And, if you make progress every day, you will see amazing outcomes from it.
Remember, consistency leads to habits that eventually define who you are. So be consistent and make improvements daily. Success is inevitable.