Yes! The more we work at something—even if we suck at first—the better we will get over time. It’s inevitable. But the key to making progress is showing up regularly. The longer we go between showing up, the more steps back we end up starting each time. That’s the true power of consistency: it lets you climb to somewhere far ahead of where you started.
I’ve had people comment that my writing is “so good”, but I could not see what they saw (I still have trouble seeing it). However, when I thought about how long I’ve been writing—how long I’ve been putting in the work and how long I’ve been studying words and scrutinizing sentences and paragraphs and essays—I realized that I must be a better writer than someone who is just starting, or someone who hasn’t put in the same amount of time and effort.
I wrote this post after realizing how my daily habit of walking each morning to greet the sunrise has, after several weeks, officially become a habit. I realized it was a habit was when I found myself mid-walk without much recollection of how I had gotten there. All of the actions necessary to get out of the house and start walking had become so automatic that they occurred subconsciously.
That’s when I tried to recall the last time I missed my morning walk. I knew that I had missed it at least a few times over the prior few weeks, but the trouble was that I could not recall even one of those days. The consistency of the morning walks had overshadowed the inconsistency of missing them.
That made me think about how I often beat myself up over not publishing something regularly, and often stress out about missing a day, a week, or a month when I’m trying to build a habit of publishing regularly. The beauty, I realized, is that trying to create or maintain a perfect record isn’t important at all: it’s showing up, over and over and over, even when something breaks that perfect record, because the significance of a record disappears into oblivion when it’s overshadowed by the power of consistency.