Consistency can be defined as a pattern of sticking to one way of thinking or acting, and I considered the importance of consistency as I went through my motions at the gym this morning.
Last week I was finally allowed to put a barbell on my back for the first time in a year. My range of motion was intentionally restricted and no weight was added to the bar. This morning I was able to increase my range of motion slightly but still without added weight. Today and last week, I set up for each set and rep the same way that I would set up before my injury, when it was common to have almost two hundred pounds on the bar on a regular basis. When it comes to lifting heavy things, there are many ways for it to go sideways and mess you up, which is why it is important to treat the light weights the same as the heavy. Being consistent in your training habits can help you avoid injury and see positive results.
Even though my training over the past year has had a significantly different focus than the previous years due to the injury, I have worked hard to stay consistent while being flexible and gracious in respecting my recovery. It hasn’t just been about treating light weights the same as heavy ones. It has also been about simply making the gym a priority. When my body hurt too much to train one day, I felt no guilt in putting it off to the next day, but I still got my training in each week.
Consistency should be applied quite liberally over all areas of life, I think, although I still quite enjoy having a measure of freedom and whimsy in what I do and when I do it. I know the importance of sleep and make a point of maintaining consistency in how many hours I can potentially have each night. With slight variations depending on my schedule, I wake up or go to bed about the same time each day. Self-care consistency is often more difficult to maintain but so very important.
And just like my unweighted barbell set up, being consistent in the little things is just as important as being consistent with the big things. Telling someone you love them. Picking up after yourself. Taking out the garbage. Scooping the cat litter. Performing a shoulder check before changing lanes when driving. The number of thoughts and actions we perform each day is really too many to even begin to quantify, and I know how often I go through periods of my day without giving a second thought to what I’m saying or thinking or doing. Is that the end of the world? Probably not but it also probably isn’t always the best way to live. I don’t think that means we need to expend copious amounts of energy or time to menial tasks or inflate their importance in the grand scheme of things, but I do think that part of consistency is doing small things properly and with intention. Shoulder checks should always be done before changing lanes, and they should be done with intention and purpose…not just a rapid twist of the neck as you swerve into the adjacent lane. Do you see the difference?