Many of us find ourselves uttering phrases like, “I’m not consistent enough with…” This sentiment is a common hurdle when forming new habits or accomplishing goals. The challenge often lies in how we define and approach consistency. Are we setting ourselves up for success, or are we unknowingly sabotaging our efforts?
In today’s episode, Kristen explores one of the major pitfalls in pursuing consistency: the intrusion of perfectionism. She challenges you to shift your mindset and change your relationship with consistency.
Let’s look at a few highlights:
- Instead of viewing consistency as a gradual effort over time, many perceive it as an all-or-nothing endeavor.
- You might be using the desire for perfection as an excuse. This mindset shift from “keep going” to “start over” can hinder progress and lead to frustration.
- Instead of aiming for perfection, consider what percentage of your goal you can realistically achieve each day.
- Perfectionism often stems from an all-or-nothing mentality, allowing for zero flexibility. Challenge this mindset by acknowledging that progress is progress, regardless of perfection.
- Aim for the 8/20 rule, understanding that imperfections are part of the journey.
Rather than fixating on perfect execution, embrace the power of progress. Remember, it’s not about starting over; it’s about continuously reminding yourself to keep going. Embrace the imperfect journey, celebrate the victories, and unlock the transformative potential of consistent and intentional effort.
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Transcript for Episode #189: Consistency vs. Perfection
Kristen Boss (00:19): You are listening to the Kristen Bos podcast. I’m your host Kristen Bos. As a bestselling author and performance coach, I’m on a mission to share about sustainable and purposeful approaches to both business and life. Each week I bring relevant topics that I believe are necessary to create a life of purpose, significance and meaning. Entrepreneurship is about so much more than growing your bottom line. It’s about who you are becoming in the process and building a life that is truly extraordinary. Entrepreneurship is really just the beginning.
Kristen Boss (00:56): Hey, bosses. Welcome to another episode of the podcast, man. We are getting closer and closer to my favorite day of the year. I love Thanksgiving, at least here in the us. If you’re an international listener, man, you’re missing out on some good food we do here. So I’m super excited hosting it. My house this year got a bunch of family coming in and this is just when we all get to gather round. I think that’s why I love Thanksgiving so much is there’s way less of the stress. It’s cooking, it’s gathering in the kitchen, it’s sharing good food. In my family, we love to play some board games. I think this year we’re going to try and do a Turkey trott just to encourage more active lifestyle for our kids, for us. So super excited for that. And speaking of Thanksgiving, I just want to give a word of gratitude for you, my listener.
Kristen Boss (01:46): I just want to thank you so much for your faithful listenership, if that’s even a word that you have gifted me with over the last however many episodes I’ve done as we are getting closer to 200 and however many millions of downloads we have at this point, I think we’re at 2.5 or something like that. But I just want to say thank you. Thank you for listening. Thank you for commenting. Thank you for sharing screenshots on your Instagram. Thank you for referring your friends. Thank you for telling people about the podcast and just thank you for being a really amazing community. I have to say, I read every review, I read your feedback when you send a message on Instagram, I read that. So I just want to thank you again for just giving me the opportunity to serve you in your life and in this amazing thing called entrepreneurship.
Kristen Boss (02:36): And when I started this podcast, it was very like, okay, man, if I was to go back and listen to episode one, I wonder if I’d cringe probably because I feel like I’ve grown with you in doing this podcast and it’s been really fun talking about a broader range of topics that is just about the wholeness of the person, all the facets. I love the idea of holistic entrepreneurship and how entrepreneurship affects and touches every part of your life and how your relationships can improve your work life performance, how child rearing parenting and health and all of those things, stress management and finances. That is why I wanted to branch out a little broader than just speaking only every week about very specific network marketing problems. And I still absolutely love talking about that, but I’m just like, I am so much more than just wanting to talk about the bottom line and sales and marketing every day.
Kristen Boss (03:40): And hey, listen, I could talk about it all day every day, but it’s been really fun kind of broadening the topics we’ve been talking about here on the podcast. So that’s just my word of gratitude to you. And if you haven’t done a review, left a review on the podcast, I would be so thankful if you could do that, helps us, the show be discovered, helps us get found. So it means a lot. So what I want to talk about today is something I see a lot of people struggling with and it even happens with my students and I think it’s a normal thing. And even my personal trainer, he says he sees it with his fitness clients. It just happens in all areas of life. And I think we see it with our kids and our interactions with others, and it’s how we view consistency and how we treat consistency.
Kristen Boss (04:29): And what I’ve noticed is that I think people have a wrong definition or idea of what consistency actually means because I think a lot of people when they’re saying, I just need to be more consistent, I don’t have the results, I’m not consistent enough. A lot of times I notice, especially when people enter into challenges like 75 hard and I can do a whole rant about why I don’t like 75 hard. And you’d be like, wait, what? I love 75 hard and I can see some of the merit and the good comes from it, but that’s for another episode, for another day. Maybe I’ll save that for the new year. When a lot of people are starting that when their goals are high and they’re like, let’s go start with 75 hard. I love the idea behind it, but the actual philosophy of it I disagree with.
Kristen Boss (05:21): But all that to say is this idea. And a lot of people do it because they’re like, well, I want to be more consistent. Or even with their health routines, they’re like, well, I’m just not consistent enough in the gym. I’m not consistent enough with tracking my food with business. I’m just not consistent enough with showing up online. I’m not consistent enough with creating content. I’m not consistent, just fill in the blank. I’m not consistent enough with fill in the blank. And when I see people enter into, so for example, we have a 90 day challenge inside the social selling academy, which by the way, we are completely revamping that, which I’m super excited to share about towards the end of the year and it’s going to be revamped starting the new year. We’ve already made some changes to it, but I was just noticing like, okay, where do people get stuck?
Kristen Boss (06:06): Why do they quit? What gets in the way of somebody staying in the habit to actually long enough to actually reap the rewards? Because it’s usually what the issue is. It’s like they will be consistent for a certain period of time until the habit or the activity is dropped and they aren’t able to be consistent long enough in order for them to reap the compounded, the reward for all the compounded efforts they’ve done over a long period of time. And that is what I would say consistency is. Consistency is compounded efforts done over a period of time that lead to compounded results, compounded positive results in your favor because whatever result you have in your life is a result of you being consistent in some area. So you could be, so for me, when I knew I was like, I’m ready to get healthy and actually lose this 30 extra pounds I’ve been carrying around, the 30 extra pounds was a result of me consistently choosing to snack mindlessly, choosing to not move more, choosing to not prioritize the gym, choosing to indulge, not eat balanced meals, to not track.
Kristen Boss (07:28): Yeah, my results was because of consistent decisions in this area where I made more consistent decisions that looked like that versus decisions of like, okay, I’m going to get up and move today. I’m going to get my steps in, I’m going to prioritize getting to the gym. I’m going to be mindful of what I’m eating, all that stuff. So consistency is simply like what you do. It’s compounded small efforts done over a certain period of time over time and it’s repetition. But here’s what I notice is people will start these consistency challenges and they will start off super strong and they’ll feel really good and they’re like, yes, here we go. And I think there’s a couple different types of people here. So we’ll say we our might want to call ’em our goal getters. They’re like, yes, I’m ready, let’s go. And they come out of the gate really strong and they stay strong until they have a setback and they’re ticking every single box every single day.
Kristen Boss (08:32): And then on day 17, suddenly something happens, they get sick or they have to travel, something in their routine gets disrupted where the routine falls apart. And because it cannot be done perfectly because they can’t tick every box the day is suddenly a wash. And in their mind they’re like, I just broke my track record, I’m not consistent. And so they go into this, ah, the whole day is a wash anyways, we’ll just do it tomorrow. And then now we have shame being, and then in their mind they’re like, tomorrow, so this happened on day 17, tomorrow they’re like, alright, day one I got to start over because of what happened instead of it’s day 18 and I’m going to pick up where I left off. But oftentimes I think people bring perfection into the game of consistency and you will know that when as soon as they’re like, I missed a couple days, therefore I’m going to need to start over.
Kristen Boss (09:47): You will know if perfectionism is getting in the way of you being consistent. If you are telling yourself, if you’re using start over language versus keep going language. Somebody who’s consistent knows how to take problems in stride solves for the problems and knows like, okay, eventually I’m going to have a disruption. Eventually something’s not going to go to plan and I’m going to learn to adapt. I’m going to be flexible, I’m going to do the best I can. And then the next day I’m going to pick up where I left off and I’m going to continue going. Consistency says keep going. Perfectionism says start over. And this is what I see people do. And then in their mind, I noticed that someone said this earlier and I saw a student say this inside the academy, they’re like, their mindset was mostly there. They’re like, here’s what I’m celebrating, what’s great, here’s how I’m doing the 90 day challenge.
Kristen Boss (10:42): But then he said, even though I failed the challenge, and I’m like, wait, how are you failing the challenge? The only way you fail is if you put the book down and walk away. If you put the journal down and don’t touch it for another 60 days, that’s failing the challenge. But I’m like you missing a couple days does not equate to failure, which tells me there’s perfectionistic thinking there, thinking I’ve only done the challenge, I’ve only been consistent if I’ve done it a hundred percent of the time versus no consistency is what I’m doing 80 to 90% of the time, understanding that 10% of the time something’s going to happen, something’s going to fall apart, but it’s what I decide to do with that 10% perfectionism takes the 10% and says, well now this was all a wash, forget this, I have to start over.
Kristen Boss (11:28): And then the idea of starting over feels so mentally exhausting to them where they actually don’t start over like, well, since I have to start over, I’ll start over next week. Instead of like, alright, I’m just going to keep going. So to give you an example is for example, with a 90 day challenge, let’s say you are working your business consistently, you’re real strong, real proud, and all of a sudden you get really sick and you need to be in bed and you’re just like, I am exhausted, I’m wiped, I’m tired, I’m sick. Alright. You have to decide in that moment what you’re going to do with that. You have to decide, okay, is this a day where I’m going to give myself rest and I know I’m going to pick up right where I left off tomorrow and I’m not going to make myself wrong for it because guess what, me doing the work tomorrow, picking up where I left off, that means I’m being consistent.
Kristen Boss (12:24): I’m just getting right back to the habit. Or are you like, well it’s Thursday, that means this whole week is the whole challenge is a wash, I’ll start over again on Monday instead of, you could also ask yourself, well, what can I do even if I’m feeling sick? What can get done? Maybe you can’t tick off all the boxes for your business while you’re like, do I have the energy to write a post? Yeah, I can write a post that doesn’t take my voice. It’s literally just my thumbs tapping around and maybe finding a photo from my camera roll. I can totally do that. But I think sometimes we use perfectionism as an out. If I can’t do it all, then I can’t do anything. Instead of what can I do again, perfectionism is all or nothing. I’m either doing all the things right or I’m not doing it at all.
Kristen Boss (13:12): Versus consistency is like, okay, what percentage can I get done today knowing that I’m going to give my best efforts tomorrow as well? So I had to do this a lot. I learned a lot about my relationship with consistency because for me, consistency comes pretty naturally in my business. I’ve built that muscle. It feels pretty automatic, but I would say in the beginning it didn’t feel that way. So I’m just going to transition it over into an area that has felt more fresh for me. And it was in the area of fitness and I would say I did not have a good relationship with myself in the area of consistency when it came to working out. I could have very all or nothing thinking. And so for me, I was like, alright, I have to be willing to build these habits. And I’ll never forget I was having a perfect week and I was in week two and suddenly I got laryngitis out of nowhere and I just wasn’t feeling good at all.
Kristen Boss (14:10): And I remember texting my trainer and being like, Hey, so I’m super sick, super lousy. And I think what I was doing in that moment was I wanted an out and I was like, what should I do? And he was just like, have some liquids, have some rest. If you could do some steps, do some steps, maybe don’t do the lifting. And what I decided to do that day, I was like, well, what would old Kristen have done? Well, old Kristen would’ve just thrown in the towel, laid in bed and probably snacked on carbs the rest of the day and said, well, I’m sick. I can do it again. I can start over tomorrow. But I’m like, okay, but what is the consistent version of me do? I was like, well, then I asked the question, well what can I do even if I’m not feeling great or I can get in my water, I can prioritize my protein and I can do some steps that I’m just going to walk.
Kristen Boss (14:59): I can walk. I wasn’t feeling that bad just enough to where I was not feeling great, but I’m like, I can try and get some steps in that is consistent in that moment. But the perfectionism would’ve been like, well, since I can’t get all my steps since I can’t get my lifting routine in since I don’t have an appetite, today is a total wash. Consistency is like, what can I do and how can I keep going? And there’ve been many times, for example, in the month of October, I was traveling almost the entire month. I was living out of my suitcase 15, 16 days that month and on airplanes and in restaurants. And so I was in environments that had a lot of variables. It’s like it was easy. It’s easy for me to be in my routine when I’m at home, when there’s no distractions, when my treadmill’s right there, when my gym is there, I have my foods, I have my groceries, but when I was traveling and I’m left with room service or hotel food or airport food, I was just like, okay, what does it look like to make the best decisions with what I have now?
Kristen Boss (16:01): What does it look like to be consistent now? And it was so good because for me in the past, all or nothing, thinking perfectionism thinking is like, well, I’m traveling. It’s really hard to find healthy food, so might as well just have the pizza. I’ll do my steps in the gym when I get home. But instead I was like, okay, where can I find the gym? How can I get my steps in? How can I work it in my day? How can I choose? I would look at menus ahead of time being like, what is a protein option that helps and just what is sustainable? And that friends, that is consistency. That’s what consistency looks like. And there was plenty of days where it was like, I’ll never forget, we went to San Diego for a few days and it was like just where we happened to be and the activities we happened to do.
Kristen Boss (16:48): All my options were fried foods and pizza for lunch and dinner. I even remember we went to the San Diego Zoo and it was so fun and I was like, I’m going to go find a salad, and I found a space in the zoo. I looked up all the menus like, oh, this place, they look like they have the salads. So we get in there, I’m in line, I’m ordering the kids their stuff, and I was like, and can I have the salad? They’re like, we’re all out of salads. And in that moment I could have been like, so I had to get creative being like, what am I going to do? There were so many moments like that in October and my trainer said to me, he’s like, Hey, listen, a win, when my clients travel, when that’s going on, usually the goal is just keeping them either maintaining their weight or not having them gain more than five pounds because weight gain, it’s inevitable with travel.
Kristen Boss (17:41): A lot of the times it’s just water retention, more salt and oils and food. People get out of their routines and he’s like, A win would’ve been one to two pounds of weight gain in the month of October. Because I was like, how can I still work with what I’m doing and stay consistent to the best of my ability instead of all or nothing? Thinking and perfectionism, I was still able to lose weight in the month of October. Now was it the normal amount at the normal rate and speed that I had the month prior? No. But I had to adjust my expectations based on the season being like, alright, did I crush it? Not really when I compare it to other months, but I’m like, but when I compare it to all the circumstances I dealt with, I did crush it. And the fact that I lost two to three pounds in the month of October is a really big deal.
Kristen Boss (18:25): And so we have to look at that with our business being like, okay, is this a season? Especially with the holidays being like, okay, kids are going to be home. We’re going to be traveling, we’re going to be in airplanes, we’re going to be with family. How do I need to make this work? Consistency is like, how do I make this work? Perfection is, well, if I can’t do it all and do it all perfectly, I’ll just address this later. Or I’ll just work when we’re not traveling. Instead of how can I make this work even with travel and still spend time with my kids and still spend time with my family? Will it be my best work? Maybe not, but at least work is getting done. At least I’m still prioritizing that. At least I’m still building the muscle memory of someone who’s being consistent.
Kristen Boss (19:08): So I really want to encourage you to notice how you view consistency. And if you put things down because you couldn’t do it perfectly or you couldn’t do it all the way, if you couldn’t do a hundred percent of it, you might as well do 0% of it. Versus consistency is like, okay, how can I do the best I can with what I have today? And making a plan and consistency says I never start over. I just keep going. And I will tell you many, there were many times you can’t let emotions take you out of consistency. Emotions like defeat, discouragement, annoyance, frustration, especially frustration. If you haven’t listened to my Frustration Tolerance podcast episode, do yourself a favor and go listen to it. Because I find people give up being consistency when frustration enters the picture. Because frustration is like, what’s the point of this?
Kristen Boss (20:00): Why am I doing all this work? And there’s still no reward, there’s still none of this, but you have to be able to continue to work, even feeling frustration that you’re not seeing the effort or the reward of your work yet. So I want to encourage you to change your relationship with consistency. Look for where you’re bringing perfectionism into that. Look for how it’s really a game of 80 20. It’s whatever you’re doing 80% of the time. So it’s like, okay, I’m going to allow for the 20%. But perfectionism, perfectionism is like believes you only get the results if you’re a hundred percent, a hundred percent of the time, which allows for zero failure, zero adaptability, zero flexibility. A lot of shame comes in there. It’s like, see, because you couldn’t give it your all. You couldn’t do a hundred percent, a hundred percent of the time.
Kristen Boss (20:53): You should just start over when you can do it perfectly. That is some bss, my friends, 80% of the time. What am I doing 80% of the time? That is what’s going to determine your results and you have grace and compassion in the 20% of the time when you have variables you can’t control because there are times in our life where there are variables we cannot control. But you can decide how you think, how you feel, how you act, and how you prioritize your goals in the 20%. So who are you being in the 80%? Because your results, your results right now are a result from what you are doing 80% of the time. Okay, friends? Alright, so take perfectionism out of the game and learn to be consistent. Learn to be somebody who says, I’m going to keep going, versus somebody who says, I’m going to start over. We’ll catch you in the next episode. That’s a wrap for today’s episode. Listen, if you love what you heard here today, I would love for you to leave a real quick rating and a review. This helps the show get discovered by new people. Be sure to take a screenshot of today’s episode and shout us out on Instagram. We’ll shout you right back out. If you’d like to find additional resources or discover how to work with me, head to www.kristenboss.com.