Consistent vs. Complacent: Which One are You?

Just as so many others have declared before this post, I’m going to affirm yet again that we live in a busy world that is face-paced and dense with information overload. And yes, I’m well aware that I’m stating the obvious.

But as the world continues to whiz on by and change at hyper-speed, we form habits to deal with all the “noise.” Some of us need a routine to help keep us on track, others just become complacent in the barrage of input, and choose to hollow out a niche where we feel comfortable. Although it feels safe, it can also keep us from challenging ourselves and growing personally and professionally.

When you really think about it, what is the difference between showing up in a consistent way, and becoming complacent by ALWAYS showing up in the same way? Hmmm…

Bring it to the Mat, Baby

I took a new yoga class this week (yay for me!), and I was inspired by the instructor’s perspective on consistency. It turned out to be a fast-paced, more aerobic-type yoga class, and she needed to school us class newbies on one thing — to be consistent in our breath and effort. She guided us to show up for every pose with the same energy, persistence and determination, whether it was our favorite pose or something we felt was simply impossible to manage. As we flung our arms and legs about with an increasing intensity in the second half of class, she continued to bring us back to that same simple point — are you ready and willing to show up with the same care and intensity for the next pose?

The instructor’s simple insight reminded me of how people often forget the act of consistency in their daily lives. By doing your best to show up in a strong, positive way even when things are hardest, is what builds character and inspires growth in all areas of life.

The only difference is that in yoga it’s only you and the mat — so there IS no where else to go but within and show up for yourself. It strips away the ability to point the finger or make excuses, or distract yourself from showing up truthfully, facades stripped away.

When Comfy Equals Consistency

Now on the flip side, there are many people who get into a consistent routine and let it take over for months on end. This set way of doing things does not inspire them to grow and they cling to the routine to feel good, as fear of change creeps in along the sides of their life. Soon they do nothing but focus on the routine, because changing the game at this point feels too risky. If this all sounds familiar, it may mean you’ve entered the “comfy trap.”

When things feel too safe and predictable, it may be time to reevaluate. Are you really happy? Is there something missing from your life that could make you happier? Are you just afraid to rock the boat and try something new? It happens to us all — we get in a rut for any number of reasons. We make excuses to ourselves and for ourselves as to why action is not right at this time, but being aware is the first step to shifting it.

Now don’t confuse being comfy or stuck with creating a routine. A routine is a helpful tool to keep you on track and make sure there are important core, self-care things in your life to keep you grounded and feeling mentally clear. Routines are also good for things you NEED to do, but don’t particularly enjoy, because it provides a way for you to mentally commit to getting them done with consistency.

At the end of the day, you are only really accountable for yourself and to yourself. Unless, of course, you have children. In that case you need to feed and water them – oh wait…that’s plants! But you get the idea.

You can’t fight the inevitable, and change is really the only constant you can count on. Show up to your own “yoga mat ready to take on what you can, confident you are willing to give all aspects of your life the same energy, space and awareness.

Photo by dprevite on Flickr